Hiking refers to going for long walks, usually somewhere in nature. It is a known fact that engaging in physical exercise has several benefits such as; reducing heart disease, lowering blood pressure and increasing bone density. There are several blogs that focus on the benefits that hiking has on physical and mental health. In this blog, I want to focus on how hiking can help the connection between oneself and nature. 

Step away from hustle and bustle

Depending on the job that you have, you are likely to spend a lot of time indoors possibly also sitting down for hours on end. During every day’s hustle and bustle, you may also have to spend a lot of time in traffic. Between all the different responsibilities that a person has such as having a job, taking care of your family, running errands, and doing house chores, it is common for people to feel that they never have time for themselves to relax and have the so-called “me time”. Hiking is one of those activities that can provide you with that time to relax and build a connection with nature; leaving a sense of peacefulness and serenity. 

If someone had to ask you to think of your happy place, where would this be?

You might mention a location in the mountains, near the beach or in the countryside. The common factor between all these is nature. The serenity that comes from being in nature is related to a reduction in stress levels, anxiety, and depression (Wells & Evans, 2003). If a person goes hiking in an environment that feels safe, it is known that a positive emotional response is activated. This is because a connection is created between the body and the mind (Ulrich et al, 1991). 

Venture into the Unknown

Hiking enables you to discover new places which could be close to your hometown or have to travel further out to find them. The excitement of seeing something new sets in leaving a sense of anticipation to explore new beautiful places. Thus, hiking can enable us with the opportunity to get out of our comfort zone through the act of exploration, moving away from a routine and possibly building new connections with people as well. These might be people you hike along with or fellow hikers you stop to have a chat with. 

Hiking encourages mindfulness

The time that you spend hiking can be very invigorating. Think of watching the sunrise or sunset, how does that make you feel? It also helps to be mindful of your surroundings such as listening to the waves of the sea, the leaves moving in a forest, birds chirping… Practicing mindfulness acts helps us to connect with the nature around us creating a sense of tranquility and harmony.

If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.

Dr Marilyn Muscat is registered as an Educational Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council in the United Kingdom where she trained. She works with children, adolescents and their families to understand more about educational, social and emotional well-being concerns that they have and to help them improve upon their difficulties. She can be contacted at marilyn@willingness.com.mt or call us on 79291817.


Ulrich, R. S., et al., 1991. Stress recovery during exposure to natural and urban environments. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 11, 201-230.Wells, N.M. & Evans, G.W., 2003. Nearby Nature: A Buffer of Life Stress among Rural Children. Environment and Behavior, 35, 311-330.