There are many mental health benefits from nature. Spending time outside in nature can give us a positive distraction from stressful or worrying things that are playing on our minds.
Being active in nature can support our physical wellbeing which can leave our brains and our bodies in a better state to cope when life throws us a curveball.And nature can also help us learn what makes us happy and content, so that we can create a lifestyle which balances and includes the things that most matter to us.
But how do you connect with nature? During the Covid 19 pandemic 45% of us have said that going for walks outside was one of our top coping strategies and that being in green spaces had been vital for our mental health.
Swimming in the sea or a lake is another natural way that some people find supports their mental wellbeing. After braving icy water, cold water swimming boosts dopamine levels and increases the release of endorphins.
Listening to bird song and trying to identify the different species that fly around us is another relaxing activity that could give us a positive distraction when issues are playing on our minds.
Gardening is a pursuit that can be beneficial for our mental health. Planting seeds and watching them grow gives us something to look forward to and spending time in daylight gives us vitamin D which can play an important role in regulating our mood and warding off depression.
Giving some time to volunteer and do something to help the environment like collecting litter.
Getting creative by drawing, painting, writing in a journal or doing something else that distracts your mind with a positive pursuit is often enhanced by doing it outside
Eating a meal outside is another way we can benefit from spending time in nature, with the connection with friends, family or people around us being an important way to maintain our wellbeing.
At Able Futures we can support people to understand what's playing on their mind and learn new ways to deal with issues and feel better, including how you might find your own ways to spend time in nature as a positive coping strategy.