Connecting with nature is not only good for your physical health but your mental health too, and there are simple ways to do so. It could be going on a walk, growing flowers in your garden, or simply finding a quiet place to sit and take in the surroundings.
It’s easy to get caught up in everyday thoughts and worries and forget to notice what’s around you, but taking time out of your day and hitting that pause button can make an enormous difference to your wellbeing. It is a time to reflect and focus your mind, and research has shown that spending 2 hours a week in nature has a positive effect on your health and wellbeing.
What are the benefits of being in nature?
Being around nature has many benefits for your mental health. Immersing yourself in the natural world, whether it is growing plants or sitting somewhere quiet, can reduce stress and help with relaxation. It can also help improve your mood if you are having a particularly difficult day.
Resolving to spend more time outside in nature can also help you to be more active. Think about going on a walk once a day to your local park or doing some exercises in your garden. Both activities will help improve your physical health which can have positive effects on your mental health too. You don’t have to be alone when you are getting your nature fix either. Joining a walking group is a fantastic way to meet and socialise with new people, or you can bring a friend along with you and catch up at the same time.
How to connect with nature
Your senses can play a big part in helping you build a relationship with nature. They help give you an understanding of what is around you.
Listen - There are a variety of different birds that surround us. Stopping and listening to them can help you to relax.
Look – Nature is full of colour, whether it is the different flowers or the leaves changing. Colour can help boost your mood.
Smell – The smell of the air can be refreshing and help you feel relaxed.
Tip: Challenge yourself to capture what you see with a camera when you’re next in nature. This will encourage you to focus and pay more attention to what is around you, and help you to slow down a busy mind.
Some local areas offer volunteering to help with conservation projects or to protect local wildlife. This can be an opportunity to help gain an understanding of your local environment, which can help you build a stronger relationship with nature. Nature Volunteers is a UK organisation that connects people with nature volunteering projects that suit their skills and interests.
It doesn’t have to be the countryside
When we think of nature, we often think of being out in the countryside. Nature is all around us whether you are in the city, by the seaside, or in the countryside. The countryside may have a lot more to offer when it comes to nature, but there are green spaces in cities too. These include your local park, which is home to a variety of birds and animals. If you are by the coast you might walk along the beach. It is important to be respectful of the areas you decide to visit and if you are unsure of where to go, you can always check locally.
You can even surround yourself with nature in the comfort of your own home. This could be watching nature documentaries on your television or keeping potted plants around the house. If you have a garden, you may even want to grow your own fruit & vegetables.
Where do you like to go to connect with nature?
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