Nature has long been known to have a positive impact on our mental health and wellbeing. From the calming effect of the ocean waves to the restorative power of a walk in the woods, being in nature can be a powerful tool in maintaining good mental health.
Numerous studies have shown the benefits of spending time in nature for our mental wellbeing. One study conducted in the UK found that people who spent time in nature experienced a significant increase in feelings of happiness and a decrease in feelings of anxiety and depression. Another study found that even just viewing images of nature can have a positive impact on our mood and cognitive function.
So, what is it about nature that has such a positive impact on our mental wellbeing?
One theory is that being in nature helps us to disconnect from the stresses and pressures of modern life. When we’re in nature, we’re able to focus on the present moment and tune out distractions. This can help to reduce feelings of anxiety and improve our overall sense of wellbeing.
In addition, spending time in nature has been shown to reduce levels of cortisol, the hormone associated with stress. When cortisol levels are high, we’re more likely to experience feelings of anxiety and depression. By reducing cortisol levels, spending time in nature can help to improve our mood and reduce feelings of stress.
Incorporating nature into your daily routine doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are some simple ways to connect with nature and improve your mental wellbeing:
- Spend Time Outside: Whether it’s going for a walk in a local park, hiking in the woods, or simply sitting in your garden, spending time outside can have a positive impact on your mental health, boosting mood, increasing creativity and improving cognitive function.
- Bring Nature Indoors: Bring some nature indoors by adding plants to your home or office. Not only do they look beautiful, but they can also help purify the air and reduce stress.
- Practice Mindfulness in Nature: Use nature as a way to practice mindfulness. Pay attention to the sights, sounds, and smells around you, and focus on being present in the moment.
- Join a Nature-Based Group: Join a nature-based group or club in your area. This can be a great way to connect with others who share your love of nature and improve your mental wellbeing.
If you’re looking for more ways to connect with nature and improve your mental wellbeing, there are many UK-based resources available. The Mental Health Foundation has a wealth of information on the links between nature and mental health, as well as practical tips for incorporating nature into your daily routine. Mind also provides information and resources on improving your mental wellbeing through activities such as spending time in nature
At the London School of Counselling, we understand the importance of nature in promoting good mental health. That’s why we try to offer our face-to-face courses in beautiful buildings situated near green spaces. During tea breaks and lunch breaks, we encourage students to walk outside or simply take a few moments to appreciate the natural beauty around them. This can have a profound impact on their mental wellbeing and capacity to learn as research has linked exposure to nature to improved cognitive function, including better memory and attention span.
Nature undoubtedly has a powerful impact on our mental health and wellbeing. Whether it’s taking a walk in the park or simply adding some plants to your home, incorporating elements of nature into your daily life can have a positive impact on your mental state. If you’re struggling with stress, anxiety, or depression, spending time in nature may be just what you need to help change the way you feel.