How Spending Time in the Wilderness Increases Mental Health in AdolescentsJune 1, 2019
What Science Says About EarthingJune 5, 2019
Over the course of the past few decades, we’ve seen tremendous technological advances. We spend hours scrolling through Instagram, sending text messages to friends, watching TV, playing video games, and using the internet for fun and research. While these activities are fine and sometimes necessary, they can easily co-opt our time, as the convenience of technology can become addictive. As the historian Daniel J. Boorstin said, “Technology is so much fun that we can drown in our technology. The fog of information can drown out knowledge.” It’s easy to get overstimulated by the myriad pieces of technology that we surround ourselves with and as such, we forget that we are made to exist in the natural world. This is when nature deprivation sets in.
“Nature deprivation” can be defined as too much time indoors, staring at screens, and too little time in the natural world. What happens when we’re nature deprived and on tech-overload? As Boorstin said, we drown in our technology. Mental health issues like depression and anxiety can settle in. Researchers at Leeds University in England found a correlation between Internet use and depression. Excessive use of technology can not only make us feel isolated from others, it can also isolate us from ourselves and from nature. Signs of depression include feelings of isolation, irritability, hopelessness, or persistent sadness or emptiness. One extremely accessible remedy for technology-induced depression is to increase the amount of time you spend indoors. While technology can be a fun way to stay connected, learn, and grow — too much time with technology coupled with persistent nature deprivation can actually increase mental health issues. There is so much information at our fingertips that it can be easy to forget about true wisdom, which is often simple and can be found right outside your door, in the forest, trees, grass, and ocean.
RedCliff Ascent is a therapeutic wilderness program, nestled between two mountain ranges in the high desert of Enterprise, UT. We focus on adolescents ages 13-17 who are struggling with various challenges from anxiety and depression, to school abandonment and the need to reconnect with their family. With over 25 years of experience, RedCliff uses a relational model and narrative therapy to drive an outcome and an evidence-based approach. RedCliff Recovery offers an experience like no other through a proven, 12-step, adventure-based wilderness program. For more information, call us today: 801-921-8488.