Nature’s Impact On Our Wellbeing
May marks Mental Health Awareness Week, the theme this year being nature and the environment, highlighting the importance nature has and continues to have on our wellbeing.
This is significantly important to us, at Talent Courtyard, so throughout May our workshops/events will be focusing on the positive and powerful impact nature and our creativity have on our wellbeing. These workshops will be engaging and educational to help enhance your personal and professional wellbeing.
Not only does spending time in nature impact our mental wellbeing but also has a huge impact on our physical health. For example spending time gardening, growing flowers/food, exercising outdoors and being around animals has many positive benefits.
Mind charity supports this, stating that spending time in nature helps:
- Improves your mood
- Reduces feelings of stress and anger
- You feel more relaxed
- Improves physical health
- Improves confidence and self-esteem
- Helps you meet new people and make connections
Nature Helps to Restore Our Wellbeing
Research conducted by Mind in 2018 showed that 95% of people stated their mood improved significantly once they spent time outside in nature, from feeling stressed and anxious to being much more relaxed, and feeling a sense of balance in their lives.
It is also suggested that being out in nature helps individuals who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), as light and focusing on what’s around you can be a helpful distraction. Research from Mind (2018) supports this as an individual stated: “I’ve had mild to moderate problems with anxiety, depression and OCD all my life, and in recent years volunteering on my local city farm has been the most therapeutic thing I’ve ever done, besides good talking therapy.”
Exploration into the benefits of spending time in nature has also shown that spending time outside helps increase one’s attention span, this is because as humans we find nature inherently interesting and calming so we are naturally drawn to focus on it, allowing for our overactive minds to refresh. Andrea Taylor (2004), researcher at the University of Illinois reported that nature also significantly helps the attention span of children who have ADHD.
Nature Helps Us to Connect with More People
The University of Illinois conducted a study showing that residents who lived in Chicago public housing, who were surrounded by green spaces, felt a stronger sense of community and belonging within their neighbourhoods. Not only did this ultimately help improve their wellbeing but it’s also led to a reduction in crime rates, aggression and violence.
This experience of nature connecting people and helping wellbeing can be explained through fMRI studies conducted in 2008 by the University of Michigan that measure brain activity. When participants viewed natural scenes, the parts of the brain associated these with empathy and love, but when they viewed urban scenes, the parts of the brain, fear and anxiety were activated. Thus, it appears as though nature inspires feelings that connect us to each other and our environment, thereby lessening feelings of isolation and ultimately helping one’s wellbeing.
Tips On How You Can Spend Time in Nature
In the past year individuals around the world have had to spend a lot more time at home, and being outdoors in nature was one of the few options to spend time differently. As lockdown restrictions loosen and the weather improves it is likely that individuals will continue to spend a significant amount of time outside in nature.
Here are some ideas on how to spend your time outside:
- Explore a new area, through walking and/or cycling
- Exercise outside
- Have your lunch break outside, whether that be in your garden or a nearby park
- Organise a picnic in your local park
- Visit your local city farm
You can also participate in our upcoming workshops this May, focusing on the importance of nature and the environment through various creative activities:
- 3rd May – Intention Wand
- 10th May – Playing with Performing and Visual Art
- 17th May – Work-Life balance
We also offer corporate events for workplaces and universities, so if you and your team are interested in arranging a tailored wellbeing workshop, we can help. Get in touch with us HERE or by writing us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.