Nature And Mental Health

Hello. The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (10th – 16th May 2021) is Nature and how it can boost your mental health.

In this post I’m looking at the connection between nature and our mental health and suggest some easy ways you can build the benefits of nature into your daily life.

Why nature is so good for our mental health

The charity MIND explain that spending time in green space or bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit both your mental and physical well-being. It can:

  • improve your mood
  • reduce feelings of stress or anger
  • help you take time out and feel more relaxed
  • improve your physical health
  • improve your confidence and self-esteem
  • help you be more active
  • help you make new connections

“Nature itself is the best physician” (Hippocrates)

5 ways to build nature into your daily life:

  • Plan, plant and care for a garden or vegetable patch
  • Take exercise outside every day
  • Join in a community initiative such as a beach litter pick
  • Try learning a new outdoor activity
  • Team up with a friend to explore new places

5 ways to bring nature indoors:

  • Put houseplants in every room or grow an indoor herb garden
  • Let as much natural light in as possible and make the most of sunny spots to rest and relax in
  • Use naturally scented diffusers or candles
  • Listen to recordings of nature sounds such as waves lapping or birds singing
  • Change your screen saver or wallpaper to beautiful scenic images – or your own very special place

Mindfulness Nature Exercise:

Try this exercise to restore calm and soak up all the healing forces of nature:

  • Go to a place in nature that you find beautiful. It can be anywhere – even your garden or a corner of the local park
  • Find somewhere comfortable where you can rest – standing, sitting or lying down
  • Feel your body as it connects to the ground, rooted to the earth
  • Take 5 deep breaths
  • Allow yourself to take in the world around you through each of your senses. Use your eyes, ears, nose, and sense of touch take it all in.
  • Spend ten minutes just absorbing the world around you.
  • Notice how your body and mind feel without judgement – what energies and emotions are there
  • Take another five deep breaths and continue on your way taking the positivity with you.

“I go to nature to be soothed, healed and have my senses put in order.”
– John Burroughs

Whatever you do and wherever you go – enjoy!

Take care.

Elaine

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