Most of us have been Liz in Eat, Pray, Love. We have all experienced this heart-wrenching feeling. These still moments when everyone is asleep and we have to face ourselves. We have had our crying episodes on the bathroom floor just like she did. And as we saw Liz’s moments of insight and her experience of finding closure, we wished we’d have moments like those of our own. So let me introduce you to the mechanism Liz used to reach such a state of balance. It’s called Catharsis!
The term Catharsis originates from the Greek ‘katharsis’ meaning “purification” or “cleansing.” The term is used in therapy as well as in literature. Catharsis, in literature, describes an emotional moment that leads to positive change in a person’s life. A cathartic moment might bring a sense of peace to an individual going through divorce, death of a loved one, health crisis or job loss. It helps that person conquer the bad experience and move past the disturbing repercussions.
In fact, Eat, Pray, Love isn’t the only movie discussing the power of catharsis. Wild, a screenplay by Nick Hornby is based on Cheryl Strayed’s 2012 memoir: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. The movie tackles the issue of recent divorcée (Reese Witherspoon) who leaves Minneapolis, Minnesota, for a hiking and camping experience that ends up to be a journey of self-discovery and healing.
Catharsis takes many forms starting from reading a book you love to hiking, camping and travelling the world! All forms come with outstanding benefits.
Skyrocket Your Serotonin Levels
You know that feeling of happiness you get when you breathe in fresh air; it’s actually a release of serotonin from the extra oxygen. Spending time near trees, you take in more oxygen; and your body can function with less strain when there’s plenty of oxygen. That’s not the only benefit of fresh air! Research shows that some time outdoors can improve your blood pressure, enhance digestion and give your immune system an extra boost. When you spend a few days outside, you get some serious health benefits from the extra oxygen and low levels of pollutants.
Foster Quality Bonding
Camping alone is plenty of fun; but if you bring along a friend or family member, you’ll enjoy a unique experience together that will positively strengthen your bond. Socializing can extend your lifespan and delay memory problems according to research published in the American Journal of Public Health; and apart from the medical benefits, a few close relationships make life more fun. So make sure to invite a few friends on your next trip out.
Even Out Your Chemicals
Melatonin is a chemical that makes you feel tired and induces feelings of depression. Spending some time outside in the sunlight will even out the levels of melatonin in your brain. You will most often find regular campers talking about how the first few days back from a trip are the happiest. Camping helps you enjoy overall better moods. It lifts your spirits and contributes to a general sense of well-being.
Say Hello to a Stress-Free Era
Stress management, stress reduction and stress control are things we all crave. We are greatly in need for them in our lives since stress negatively affects health in just about every way possible. Camping allows you to give yourself some stress-free time by putting less pressure on your mental and physical faculties. The rise in oxygen levels, higher levels of serotonin and managed levels of melatonin (mentioned above) ensure lower stress levels. So whenever you feel worked up about something, plan for a camp.
Work Out Those Muscles
The most obvious benefit of camping is the fact that you’re spending a lot of time performing physical activities. Hiking and biking are cardiovascular exercises that will keep your heart and lungs at their best. Activity levels might vary, but hikers burn somewhere between 120-300 calories per hour; and it’s 300-500 calories per hour for bikers!
Sleep Like You’ve Never Slept Before
After a day full of outdoor activities, you’ll fall fast asleep. And there is nothing better than sleeping surrounded by Mother Nature. Many campers report better sleep cycles when they return from a trip. It’s like nature have set their biological clock right back to place. Sleep has positive effects on all body functions. It improves cardiovascular system and helps you stay alert and refreshed.
A Call for Challenge
According to researches, new experiences help keep brains healthy. New activities that are both physically and intellectually stimulating have the greatest effects on brain health, and camping fits both criteria.
Keep Calm and Meditate
When you go camping, it’s imperative to disconnect to enjoy the simplicity of the natural experience. Turning off your cell phone and engaging with nature is one of the simplest ways to get the health benefits of meditation. Meditation can improve a number of serious medical conditions. If you suffer from depression, fatigue, high blood pressure, heart disease or anxiety attacks; research shows that camping promotes your overall health. Meditation also provides anxiety reduction, emotional stability, development of intuition and peace of mind. So don’t forget to turn everything off and meditate; you wouldn’t want to miss all the benefits.