Enjoy the great outdoors to reduce your stress levels and improve life

A major new study has revealed how camping in the great outdoors improves people’s well-being and mental health, even this time of year.
Camping and caravaning can be good for your mental health (photo: Will Johnston and The Camping and Caravaning Club)Camping and caravaning can be good for your mental health (photo: Will Johnston and The Camping and Caravaning Club)
Camping and caravaning can be good for your mental health (photo: Will Johnston and The Camping and Caravaning Club)

The Outjoyment Report was commissioned by The Camping and Caravanning Club and undertaken by a team of academics at Liverpool John Moores University and Sheffield Hallam University.

The study includes a survey of nearly 11,000 campers and non campers, assessing their attitudes towards the benefits of all types of camping such as pitching up in a tent, caravan or motorhome, or going glamping.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The report has been published 11 years after the ground-breaking Real Richness Report, also commissioned by the club and researched by LJMU, which provides a comparison to findings from more than a decade ago.

Loch Ness Shore club site (photo: The Camping and Caravaning Club)Loch Ness Shore club site (photo: The Camping and Caravaning Club)
Loch Ness Shore club site (photo: The Camping and Caravaning Club)

Key findings from The Outjoyment Report discovered campers are ...

• Happy: 97 per cent of campers say happiness is their top motivator for going camping while 48 per cent of campers reported feeling happy almost every day, compared with 35 per cent of non campers

• More connected to nature: 93 per cent go camping to enjoy being in nature – second highest motivator after happiness, scoring highly on measures of nature connection

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

• Enjoying better well-being: 93 per cent of campers value camping for the benefits it gives to their health and well-being – an increase on 85 per cent of our Real Richness Report in 2011

Camping for pure Outjoyment at The Star Club site (photo: The Camping and Caravaning Club)Camping for pure Outjoyment at The Star Club site (photo: The Camping and Caravaning Club)
Camping for pure Outjoyment at The Star Club site (photo: The Camping and Caravaning Club)

• Flourishing: 44 per cent are flourishing (have optimal mental health) compared with 31 per cent of non-campers. This increases for those who camp more often

• Less stressed: 88 per cent of campers are motivated to go camping to take time out of everyday life and have higher levels of psychological well-being than non campers

• Active outdoors: 98 per cent of campers take part in outdoor activities. 91 per cent go walking, 39 per cent cycle and 26 per cent enjoy bird-watching.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Camping and Caravanning Club’s Director General Sabina Voysey said: “The findings of The Outjoyment Report have never been so relevant as they are today.

"Camping in all its different forms puts us on the doorstep of the great outdoors and provides a clear pathway to a healthier and happier lifestyle – one in which people appreciate nature more and are active outdoors.

"Given the many negative events that have been happening in recent times at home and abroad, anything that helps people to feel better about themselves and each other is vitally important.”

Liverpool John Moores University Senior Lecturer in Psychology Dr Kaye Richards commented: “Camping connects people – to the outdoors, to nature, to each other and most importantly to themselves.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Positive emotions generated from outdoor enjoyment help to alleviate everyday stressors and promote feelings of life satisfaction. It is no surprise then, that the more people camp the more this can improve happiness and well-being.”

Sheffield Hallam University Tourism Management Principal Lecturer Dr Adele Doran added: “Campers really enjoy an outdoor lifestyle. They pursue a range of outdoor activities while camping, which fuels their sense of adventure, keeps them physically active and connects them to nature.

"In fact, campers are more connected to nature than non campers.”

The Outjoyment Report also examined subjects such as the importance of children going camping as part of their formal education and how survey respondents felt about healthcare professionals prescribing spending time in natural settings as a remedy for poor mental health.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A total of 83 per cent of respondents felt positive about health professionals prescribing spending time in nature as an effective remedy for poor mental health, a significant rise from 58 per cent in our previous study.

"And 94 per cent believe children should learn outdoors while 93 per cent think pupils should camp as part of their formal education – a big rise from the 59 per cent of the 2011 report.

Sabina continued: “Our vision is for a society in which camping and memorable outdoor experiences can play a full part in building a happier, healthier nation.

"Our goal is to raise the profile of camping and the countryside, and to urge policy-makers in government to harness the findings of our report to shape people’s outdoor enjoyment – especially through camping – as it will ultimately help to make them healthier and happier people.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The report was generated through two primary channels. Our experts carried out a literature review of existing academic research relating to camping or caravanning that has been published since 2010 in English, reviewing 1,166 articles and chapters from books.

This was accompanied by an in-depth survey of the views and attitudes of 10,992 campers and non campers, that included using a set of internationally recognised measures of well-being. The data was then statistically analysed to identify where campers and non campers might differ.

What’s in a word? The word ‘outjoyment’ is a blend of outdoors and enjoyment and one we believe sums up our report perfectly.

It’s also known as a portmanteau word just like glamping, brunch and Brexit.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Furthermore, using the Office for National Statistics Personal Well-being scale, the Mental Health Continuum, the Ryff Scales of Psychological Well-being, and the Perceived Stress Scale, campers rated their well-being higher than non campers.

For example, campers are more likely to be flourishing. Flourishing is a term used in psychology to describe positive mental health encompassing emotional, social and psychological well-being.

According to research, the more you camp, the more likely you are to be flourishing, enjoying better well-being and have lower levels of anxiety and stress.

Campers are also more satisfied with life, are happier and have more positive relations with others compared to non campers.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Motivations to camp are varied and illustrate how camping can promote well-being in many ways such as happiness, improved physical health and reduced stress and anxiety.

For a full copy of The Outjoyment Impact Report visit www.theoutjoymentreport.co.uk website.