Here is how you can feel rejuvenated without ever leaving Pennsylvania.


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In our stressful culture it’s more important than ever to take care of your mental health. As a Pennsylvania resident you have a number of resources at your disposal. Here is how exploring Pennsylvania helps you with mental exercise, rest, and rejuvenation.

Know what’s good for you. Spending time doing recreational activities is good for your well-being. Some studies reflect that participating in physical, recreational, social and group activities reduces stress, anxiety and depression.

According to studies cited by Enabling Minds, engaging in recreation and physical activity is “proven to promote and maintain well-being because of their physical and mental health benefits.” For optimal well-being and great mental health you should strive for activities that include spending time:

Focusing. By focusing and striving toward a goal, your brain develops deep connections.

Playing. By engaging in play and creativity, your brain develops new connections.

Moving. Physical movement strengthens your brain in many ways.

Reflecting. Spending quiet time focusing on sensations integrates your brain.

Relaxing. Downtime helps your brain recharge.

Sleeping. Getting sufficient sleep allows your brain to recover from your day and reinforces learning.

Connecting. Time spent connecting with others, especially in person and in natural environments, activates and bolsters your brain’s ability to relate.

Especially for recovery. According to some studies spending time in nature doing activities such as camping and hiking can be especially beneficial to people recovering from addiction. Participants in outdoor adventure therapies experienced less response to triggers, felt more positive, and had less cravings.

Living in the state of Pennsylvania gives you lots of opportunities to reap all these mental health benefits. Here is just a handful of fabulous, fun options:

The great outdoors. Pennsylvania is abundant with outdoor recreational choices. Look into the State Park system for opportunities. With over one hundred state parks, twenty-six state forests, four fish hatcheries, two national historic sites, a wildlife refuge and three national historic parks there is bound to be an option close to home. Activities include camping, hiking trails, picnic areas, snowmobiling, skiing, birdwatching, and more. Check individual parks for specific amenities and activities.

Walk through American history. Pennsylvania is brimming with American history. Consider a walking tour to stretch your brain and your legs. Check out the Constitutional Walking Tour. Options range from field trips, group tours and self-guided tours. Take in the Liberty Bell, The National Constitution Center, and Independence Hall. If you have particular sites you want to see, verify business hours of those destinations ahead of time.

Getaway to Gettysburg. Looking for variety? Gettysburg offers something for everyone. Of course you can visit the historic battlefields. Tours range from walking, bicycling, horseback and Segway. Personal guides offer stories and tidbits about the town and historic events. Gettysburg also offers a great shopping district, you're close to state parks, there are music concerts, theaters, golfing, skiing and much more.

Step into another place and time. Looking for something very different? The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire might be just the ticket. Enjoy hundreds of costumed characters and shows with themed weekends offering music, dancing, interesting foods and varied merchants. Some of the entertainment is interactive, and there are activities for people of all ages. For jousting, fairy tales, gypsies, pirates and human chess matches join the fun at the Faire.

Explore our state. Spending time in recreation is good for your well-being. Your mental and physical health benefit from activities that encourage exercise, rest and entertainment. As a resident of Pennsylvania you have an array of choices. Enjoy an outdoor adventure, take a getaway, or step back in time. Pennsylvania will help you rejuvenate.

About the Author: Jennifer Scott writes stories about the ups and downs of her anxiety and depression at SpiritFinder.org. Jennifer has also written on the challenges of people living with bipolar disorder for the Huffington Post, and has written for other organizations. For additional information on Jennifer, visit www.spiritfinder.org.

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