What are the benefits of nature on mental health? | Health In Mind

Information from Health in Mind:

Evidence shows that it can help with mental health difficulties like anxiety and depression, and has been shown to:

  • Improve your mood
  • Reduce feelings of stress
  • Improve your concentration
  • Improve your confidence and self-esteem
  • Improve your physical health, and help you to be active

The benefits of being outside in nature are still being understood, but are thought to be related to our senses connecting us to the world around us, as well as providing the opportunity for us to connect with others in an outdoor setting. You don’t have to be outside for long to reap the rewards either, with research showing being outside for as little as five minutes can still have great benefits for your wellbeing!

5 ways to wellbeing in nature

Here are some ideas to try around the 5 ways to wellbeing in nature:

Connect

  • Join a walking group (Take a look at Paths for All or, Ramblers)
  • Join an outdoors sports team, like football or golf, or join an exercise club
  • Grow food with others – you could apply to share an allotment, or look for community gardens or food growing projects in your local area. (Take a look at the Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society)

Take notice

  • Arrange a comfortable space to sit, like by a window where you can look outdoors
  • If you live in a city, it might feel harder to find green spaces. If you are present in your surroundings, you might notice nature popping up in the least likely of places.
  • Try listening to natural sounds, like through recordings or apps that play the sounds of the ocean or the rain falling
  • When you’re out in nature, use your senses to taste, hear, feel, smell and see everything that is around you. Whether it’s tasting wild blackberries, hearing the sound of birds, feeling the textures of leaves or trees, stopping to smell flowers, or seeing what wildlife you can spot.

Give

  • Give back to the environment by recycling or going on a litter picking walk
  • Be a Health in Mind hero and take on an outdoor fundraising challenge. For inspiration, visit our Fundraising page here.
  • Plant seeds or flowers to help bees
  • Hang a bird feeder outside your window
  • Try pet-sitting or dog walking for your friend or at your local animal shelter

Keep learning

  • Learn to find edible plants. You could see if a foraging group meets up in your local area, or learn some foraging recipes (Try the Woodland Trust website)
  • Learn to paint, draw, or take photographs, using nature as your inspiration
  • Learn gardening, including how to plant or grow your own vegetables

Keep active

  • Go for a walk in a green space, such as a local park, or woodland trail.
  • Try moving your exercise outdoors if you can. You could go for a run through a local park, go on a bike ride, or even go wild swimming.

Read more about nature and wellbeing here

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