The Science Behind Why Camping Makes You Happy

Ever come back from a trip thinking 'I need a vacation from my vacation?' The hustle and bustle of traveling can leave you feeling exhausted and frazzled, not rejuvenated.

Studies suggest that camping is one exception. Pitching a tent or parking the RV in the woods, by a lake or seaside can have a relaxing effect and leave you feeling more refreshed than before you left commuting, work and other responsibilities behind.

More: 5 Ways to Be a Happy Camper

"The studies we have looked at suggest that something more transformational happens when we camp. Camping allows us to get away from the routines and the relative comforts and things we depend upon in our daily lives," according to the authors of The Psychological and Social Benefits of the Camping Experience (referenced as TPSBCE).

There are many reasons why campers are happy people. For one, camping forces us detach from our smartphones, the Internet and TVs and connect with nature instead. Here's how—and why—camping can positively impact your life.

Improved Quality of Life

Some 79 percent of campers are satisfied with their quality of life as opposed to non-campers, 59 percent of whom report general life satisfaction. The authors of TPSBCE also found that campers experience an uptick in overall wellbeing.

Those who vacation in the wilderness reported feeling more optimistic, happy and energized on a regular basis. "These people seem to have a greater life balance than those who don't currently 'escape' into nature for any length of time," according to TPSBCE.

More: The No. 1 Reason You Feel Refreshed After Camping

Peace, Love and Adventure

If you feel a certain "zen" while camping, you're not alone. The words peace, escape, fun, happiness and adventure were found to be closely associated with camping according to the 2012 American Camper Report. Similar to yoga or meditation, camping translates to a noticeably relaxed state of mind that lends itself naturally to happiness.

More Lifelong Memories

Stories around the campfire and long hikes are cornerstones of camping, and 97 percent of people polled for TPSBCE say memories from these special moments make them feel emotionally closer to the people they camp with. This not only makes campers happy; it also makes the experience that much more meaningful.

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