Mental Health Awareness – nature and the environment.

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Mental Health Awareness – nature and the environment.

Nature is truly a wonderful thing, isn’t it? And with spring truly sprung this month, it feels fitting to focus on the positive impacts of the natural world on our wellbeing.

Here are five surprising ways that nature can impact our wellbeing in a positive way:

  1. Nature restores: We all know – anecdotally at least- that being outside and getting fresh air has a positive impact on our wellbeing, but there are also many quantitative studies that back this up too. Certainly, spending time in nature and viewing natural scenes can help to provide a respite for our overactive and busy minds, allowing us to reset and calm before we start a new task.
  2. Nature heals: Exposure to nature not only makes us feel better emotionally, but it can also contribute to our physical wellbeing too. For instance, it can work towards reducing blood pressure, bringing down our heart rate and can even limit our stress hormones too.
  3. Nature calms: Being in nature, or even just by looking at photos of nature, we can reduce feelings of anger, alleviate stress, and reduce fear. Natural scenes tend to calm us and help to provide feelings of peace so that we can truly switch off.
  4. Nature connects: Not only does nature connect us to the world around us, but it can also do two other wonderful things too. Firstly, it connects us to ourselves, allowing us to centre our thoughts and reset our feelings. Secondly, nature can also bring us together with others. Through walking with others, doing gardening and outdoor projects together, we can feel far more at ease with one another, build relationships and reduce any feelings of loneliness or isolation.
  5. Nature relaxes: Nature can help us to relax and take our minds off any negative feelings we might be experiencing. It can even reduce feelings of pain too. We are genetically programmed to find trees, plants, water, and other natural elements captivating. As such we tend to find our attention is more engaged by natural scenes and, as a result, we are distracted from our pain and discomfort.

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