A recent study commissioned by Natural England reviewed the benefits and outcomes of ‘green’ care for mental wellbeing. It found that taking part in nature-based activities can contribute to increased mental wellbeing.
The report presents evidence that shows a range of positive benefits including a reduction in depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms, and an improvement in dementia-related symptoms.
It provides compelling evidence to show that contact with nature improves physical health and mental wellbeing.
So how can we connect with nature to improve our wellbeing?
Spend some time every day doing something in your garden if you have one. Feel the sun, the wind, the rain. Plant, prune, harvest and tend – becoming involved in the outcomes.
If you don’t have a garden or its too cold to go out, bring nature indoors. Plant some seeds or an avocado/fruit stone, buy some houseplants, keep a jar of fresh flowers, collect and place a jar of seashells and sand in your living room.
Make contact with the earth. Go outside, take off your shoes and socks and sink your bare feet into the grass. Or, if it’s cold, then find a tree and place your palm on the trunk. You can even give it a big tree-hug if you’re feeling it; just lean in and wrap your arms around.
Nature you can eat – create a herb garden or vegetable patch. Herb gardens can be indoor as well as out and can sit on a windowsill. Digging and tending with our hands helps you connect.
Kiss the earth with your feet – a lovely quote from Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us to slow down and notice nature, “Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” The next time you walk out your front door, feel your feet connecting with the earth, step by step.
Why not give the gift of connecting with nature? Ideal for adults and children.
We have a ‘Connect with Nature’ set that includes a pot, soil, either sunflower seeds or multi-head narcissus bulbs gift bagged with a sunflower charm, instructions for the seeds/bulbs and advice on connecting with nature, presented in a lovely cellophane wrapper. All this for just £5!! Go to thesunsinebox.org to see or buy.