In short, because the environment we are in influences what we see, hear, taste, smell and touch. And that, in turn, influences how we feel.
Countless research reveals the positive affect nature has on our wellbeing. For some of the best science around, check out these international reviews and the fantastic local examples, compiled by the Mental Health Foundation.
Or if you’re short on time, the general benefits are beautifully summed up in The University of Minnesota’s article: How Nature Impacts Our Wellbeing.
In a nutshell…
What’s extra amazing is that we don’t even have to be in nature to experience the benefits. Studies show that having pot plants in a workplace or even just being able to see a beautiful image or view reduces stress. Pretty cool eh?
In fact connecting with nature is found to be so beneficial that mental health experts around the world have developed a range of nature-based techniques known as ecotherapy.
For example, the University of Essex took a group of people living with depression for a walk through a country park, and 90% reported feeling higher self-esteem afterwards. Nearly three quarters said they felt less depressed.
Stanford University also concluded that walking in nature can lead to a lower risk of depression. Specifically, the study found that people who walked for 90 minutes in a natural area showed decreased activity in a region of the brain associated with depression, as opposed to participants who walked in a high-traffic urban setting.
So how do we make the most of Mother Nature’s ability to nurture and soothe us? Connecting with nature can be as easy as noticing the seasons changing, gazing at a star-filled sky or just spending time in your own backyard.
On that front, our friends at the Mental Health Foundation have put together a list of awesome ideas for enjoying the world just beyond our front door.
So is a nature prescription right for you. Apparently it can “reduce cynicism, meaninglessness, anal retentiveness and murderous rage.” If this video didn’t exist, we would have created it...
Nature is the ideal place to practice the Five Ways to Wellbeing. Evidence from across the world is showing that spending time in nature makes us feel healthier, happier and more optimistic.
Eating well isn't just good for our bodies – it can also work wonders for our minds. Get the lowdown on the foods you should be gobbling, for a mind and wellbeing boost. View Article.