Nearly one eighth of the population suffers from some level of anxiety or mental illness. But for those looking for answers, walking with women in nature might just hold the key to unlocking the illusive cure.
Rose tried to end her life three times. The chemical imbalance in her brain kept her bedridden in a psychiatric hospital for months. Family suffering, her secret agony.
The black dog of depression, which started after the birth of her third child, had her firmly in its grip. It refused to let go.
Plagued by nearly 25 years of medication, the ongoing quest for the perfect cocktail of drugs to bring happiness, failure, her nightmarish secret, and the family shame of endogenous depression.
Rose speaks out for the first time, keen to share her story to help other women. She’s excited to tell the world she’s better – a brave act with unimaginable consequences for friends and family who either don’t know, don’t want to know, or don’t want others to know.
Then she back tracks. She wonders: who’s going to read the story? Who’s going to find out? Who’s going to be upset? We agree to change her name to protect those she loves. She is a member of Wild Women On Top, Trek Training For Adventure.
Unlike other diseases, mental illness is still a hideous family secret for many Australians. Every year, around six per cent of all adult Australians are affected by a depressive illness while Beyond Blue reports that 18 million scripts are written for anti-depressants.
But there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that exercise, nature and social engagement provide a great alternative to drugs. A quick Google search results in millions of links: a large body of evidence showing that exercise among nature is a great benefit for many people with depression. Walking is a winner.
Research shows that it controls depression, improves athletic performance, improves immunity and memory, reduces anxiety, helps battle colds, flu and cancer, makes you happy, speeds recovery time after sickness, and reduces cancer.
So how does it work?
Our brain gently registers the wind in leaves, while the sound of the waves revitalises a fatigued mind. And phytoncides, the olfactory-provoking chemicals that trees naturally secrete, reduces stress hormones. They can also be cancer-protective: the more forest around you, the lower your risk of lung, breast, uterine, prostate, kidney and colon cancers.
We also know that long walks nourish mind, body and spirit in addition to all the benefits mentioned above. Not to mention, they’re fun.
The Benefits of the Long Walk for the Mind
- You will learn to focus and relax your mind while the walking triggers lots of happy hormones
- You can enjoy yourself and your surroundings
- You will learn patience as you walk longer distances
- You’ll learn to use your mind to overcome adversity
- You’ll become a master of your mind and be able to accomplish any goal you set for yourself
The Benefits of the Long Walk for the Body
- Improves aerobic capacity for more efficient oxygen intake
- Your body burns fat and sugar more efficiently while you’re walking
- You’ll learn to pace yourself so you can keep going all day without getting tired
- Your body will learn to be more relaxed, the benefit of which is immeasurable
- You’ll become master of your body and be able to achieve any goal you set yourself
To learn more about walking with women in nature, download a copy of our e-book How To Prepare For World Class Treks now: www.wildwomenontop.com/mindfood-promo