A mountain top piercing through the clouds.

The Benefits of Mountain Living for Anxiety and Depression

Many people come to that point in life when all they can think about is moving far away—far away from responsibilities, the crowd, and most importantly, stress. Namely, stress is the most common side effect of numerous mental disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and personality disorders. Environmental factors, like living in urban areas, can exacerbate the symptoms of these disorders, which is why many city dwellers have started exploring the benefits of mountain living for anxiety and depression.

The Correlation Between Physical and Mental Health

By now, it’s been well-documented that individuals in great physical shape also show improved mental stability and sharpness. Many studies have shown that the relationship between physical and mental health is far from insignificant.

Namely, people who practice fitness, eat healthy, and engage in regular physical activity show less overall stress levels than people who live a more leisurely lifestyle.

Exercising stimulates the production of hormones responsible for numerous functions, some of which control happiness and overall mood. So, how does this correlate to moving to the mountains?

Aside from a peaceful environment, mountain life offers many opportunities for people to engage in physical activity, from walking, trekking, and exploring hiking trails to sports, such as snowboarding, skiing, and sliding. 

Moreover, the isolation from urban life often causes people to start growing their own food or take up livestock and animal farming, both of which can be physically demanding. Overall, the mountain lifestyle is packed with physical activities for those who seek them.

A herd of sheep in the fields.

Improving Mental Health in Nature: Top Benefits

Surrounding yourself with beautiful scenery is not simply about aesthetics. Yes, it soothes the soul to wake up in the morning and not be welcomed by the sounds of car sirens, but there’s more to it. Let’s explore and see what time spent in nature can do for your anxiety and depression.

Fresh Air

Waking up and taking the first breath of fresh air can be exhilarating, but what’s more beneficial is what it does for your overall health. Nasal congestion and respiratory issues start to diminish, and so does the correlating stress that goes with them.

Furthermore, the symptoms of anxiety and depression, such as having trouble sleeping, irritability, and sadness, quickly start to fade due to the positive effects of fresh air. Higher altitudes often mean more oxygen in the air, which promotes circulation and better functioning of the body, both physically and mentally.

Evolution and Communities

As time passed, we moved from living in forests, mountains, and seasides to urban areas to build communal spaces and make our lives easier. However, large communities brought upon modern diseases and stress like never before, so there’s a constant need to return to nature and search for “paradise lost.”

On the other hand, mountain communities tend to be close-knit. They provide a strong support system and a sense of belonging that no city can match. Such environments offer a strong basis upon which individuals can deal with anxiety, depression, or simply the stress of urban living.

Nature Therapy

For years now, medical professionals have pointed out the importance of nature therapy to patients of all sorts, not just the ones suffering from mental illnesses. 

Namely, there have been strong indications that a strong connection with nature lowers cortisol levels and leads to improving symptomatology of many mental disorders, including anxiety and depression. In fact, it’s been noted that 44% of study subjects reported lowered stress and anxiety when in close proximity to nature. Needless to say, this only goes to show the benefits of mountain living for anxiety and depression treatments.

Digital Detox

Yes, most mountain areas nowadays have electricity, and some even have access to stable internet. However, the abundance of things to do in nature simply adds value to mountain living, so much so that most people use digital devices only for the bare necessities.

We all know the benefits of digital detox, from improved productivity to decreased distractions, but the most important benefit is rest. Disconnecting and focusing on your mental state is the most important aspect of mountain living.

A person walking in the woods.

Top Mountain Locations in the US to Check Out

As we mentioned, some mountain areas are starting to resemble urban communities, so it’s very important to find a beautiful, distraction-free place. Take a look at our top three picks and check them out!

Mount Rainier Area

Mount Rainier Area is home to the tallest mountain in the state of Washington. Lush nature, beautiful scenery, and many places that support outdoor activities await if you decide on this area. If you’re looking to escape from the city for a while and improve your mental health, this is the place for you. The area is also the home to Enumclaw and Ashford, small towns near Seattle with the perfect close-knit community to set your mind at ease. 

Of course, sometimes, even all the lush scenery in the world cannot make up for the complexities of mental health issues. If you feel your anxiety and depression getting out of hand, it’s best to seek professional assistance to help you cope in the most effective way. We Level Up Washington is the recommended, acclaimed facility in this particular area. As a renowned treatment facility that specializes in treating various mental disorders, it provides comprehensive care tailored to individual needs.

Smoky Mountains

On the other side of the country, the states of Tennessee and North Carolina are the home to the Smoky Mountains, a popular place for families looking to rest and run away for the weekend. If you’re looking to get away but also keep in touch socially, a city like Gatlinburg, TN, might be one of the Smoky Mountains’ areas to visit.

It’s a city surrounded by mountains and forests but also filled with family-friendly attractions and cultural sightings.

Green Mountains

Picture nature on a magazine cover — that is exactly what you’ll get if you visit the Green Mountains in Vermont. From long trails, camping sites, and wilderness areas to picturesque holiday resorts, the Green Mountains have everything you need to get your mind to the right place. There is an abundance of streams and lakes where you can go fishing, or you can visit Stowe, a beautiful ski resort with a lot of history and culture.

A field of wildflowers.

Rest and Recuperate: Experience the Benefits of Mountain Living for Anxiety and Depression

Coping with the stress of modern living is a challenge for all of us, especially for those battling a mental health issue. You need to do what’s best for your body and mind. Hiking, trekking, or fishing—it doesn’t matter what the activity is, as long as it helps you relax. Find the mountain area where you can truly experience the benefits of mountain living for anxiety and depression and build a healthier life.

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