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Discover the Healing Power of Nature Walks for Mental Health at Morikami!

The Strolls for Well-Being program at Morikami is a hidden gem in our community. In our fast-paced, digitally dominated world, finding ways to nurture our mental health and well-being can feel like a daunting task. However, one of the most effective remedies is also one of the simplest: taking a nature walk. Immersing yourself in the natural world offers profound benefits for mental health, providing a sense of fresh air from the stresses of daily life. Let's explore how nature walks can significantly boost your mental well-being and how the FREE Strolls at Morikami can help you!.


The Science Behind Nature's Healing Touch

Research consistently supports the idea that spending time in nature can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that participants who took a 90-minute walk in a natural setting showed decreased activity in brain regions associated with rumination and overthinking, a key factor in anxiety and depression, compared to those who walked in an urban environment.

In Japanese culture, the belief in the healing and rejuvenating power of nature walks is deeply ingrained, and this is reflected in practices such as Shinrin-yoku (森林浴), or "forest bathing." Shinrin-yoku is more than just walking in the woods; it is a mindful practice of immersing oneself in the forest atmosphere. This practice is based on the idea that spending time in nature can bring numerous physical and mental health benefits. As part of wellbeing practices they recommend talking nature walks at least twice a week as part of the recovery process when people are ill or as a way of preventing physical and mental illness.


Benefits of Nature Walks for Mental Health


1. Reduction in Stress Levels

Walking in nature reduces cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone. The rhythmic activity of walking, combined with the calming sights and sounds of nature, helps to soothe the mind and body, creating a sense of peace and relaxation. Practicing grounding and mindfulness is key to healing.


2. Enhanced Mood and Well-being

Exposure to natural light and fresh air can significantly improve mood. Nature walks increase the production of endorphins and serotonin, chemicals in the brain that promote happiness and reduce feelings of depression.


3. Improved Focus and Cognitive Function

Spending time in nature has been shown to enhance cognitive function and improve focus. The natural environment provides a restorative experience that allows the brain to recover from mental fatigue, leading to better concentration and creativity. Nature also can be inspiring!


4. Boosted Physical Health

Physical activity is intrinsically linked to mental health. Regular nature walks improve cardiovascular health, strengthen muscles, and boost the immune system, which in turn supports mental well-being. The physical exertion also promotes better sleep, a critical factor for mental health.


Morikami, the Japanese park located in Boca Raton, FL offers a FREE program called “Strolls for Well-Being”. This is a FREE resource for anyone who is grieving, caregivers, individuals with chronic pain and mental health concerns such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and in recovery from substance abuse.


The group meets once a month and participants are provided with a FREE temporary membership for 2 people while they participate in the program and will receive a FREE annual dual membership once they complete the program.


Participants are encouraged to complete at least one walk independently in between monthly meetings and are required to attend the group sessions. The participants temporary membership allows them to enter the park and take the walks at their own pace and time. They also receive a workbook that encourages self-reflection during the walks. There are 6 stops throughout the park where participants are encouraged to stop and use their journals to reflect on different themes (i.e. awareness, transitions, hope, connection, possibilities, forgiveness, etc.). There are 12 themes to choose from.


This mindfulness based-program is an evidence-based program that has helped many individuals during the past decade. In addition to their membership participants get 10% discount at the Morikami restaurant and store. It's a beautiful park and a beautiful program! Don't miss this amazing opportunity to enhance your growth. Space is limited and spots will be filled on a first come, first served basis.

 

For more information, please contact:


Ayano Hamilton |Project Coordinator

Stroll for Well-Being Program

Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

4000 Morikami Park Road | Delray Beach, FL 33446

(P) 561.501.1048 | (F) 561.499.2557


Schedule for the Fall Session 2024


Strolls For Wellbeing Schedule 2024.2025
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