There’s growing scientific evidence that being in the mountains isn’t just The Best Thing Ever™ but that it can also significantly contribute to people's overall wellness. As if you needed more reasons to visit.
It doesn’t take a huge leap of faith to imagine that most people in Jasper are happy. For starters, unless you’re one of the approximate 5,000 people who live here, then you’re likely to be on vacation. But according to recent research, the reason(s) you see so many smiles in the national park goes beyond simply having a break from the day-to-day routine of home.
Intuitively, we know that nature is good for us. We go outside and, barring any surprise wilderness emergencies, we feel better. Thanks to scientific advances and fast-growing interest in the topic, we’re learning more and more about why being in nature has such positive effects.
The results are so impressive that medical professionals around the world have started prescribing time in nature. In Japan, ‘forest bathing’ has become a common therapeutic treatment. In Scotland, physicians sometimes add hiking to the recommended treatment plan for those suffering from anxiety and depression. In the United States, some researchers decry the rise of ‘nature deficit disorder’ among screen-addicted children. In Jasper, even the mayor follows the town’s unofficial motto: a bike ride a day keeps the doctor away.
The good news is that evidence suggests benefits can come from even small doses of “ecotherapy”; as little as a 15 minute walk in a park can have a positive effect (just imagine the boost you’d get from a sojourn in the Jasper backcountry). In case you needed more of a reason to visit Jasper, here are 10 ways Jasper can help you be a better you.
10 Achieve awe
Beautiful nature is often described as awe-inspiring (guilty 🙋). A 2018 study tried to examine how the impact of nature on well-being and stress-related symptoms is explained by experiences of awe. After military veterans and youth from underserved communities were taken whitewater rafting, researchers found that the more awe the participants reported, the more improvement they saw in their well-being and symptoms of stress one week later.