Nature for better health and wellbeing
Being in nature helps us feel good. Recently there’s been a surge in interest in how the natural world positively impacts on human health and wellbeing. This includes the physical components of the world around us (forests, hills, rivers, etc.) and biodiversity – the plants and animals that live in it. Consequently, there’s now a wealth of scientific evidence that proves being connected to nature provides tangible benefits to our physical and mental health. So, being in nature helps us feel good and become physically healthier!
Various organisations like The Wildlife Trusts are promoting engaging with nature for the health benefits it provides. In line with this, the Wildlife Trusts published a report in 2015 that describes the evidence for why nature is good for us. This gives me a nice way to introduce this topic that I feel so passionate about! Therefore, today’s post gives you a glimpse into some of this scientific evidence, to whet your appetite for topics I’ll be exploring in greater depth and detail down the line!
What is nature and how do we connect with it?
To me nature includes any plant or animal – I exclude pets although they provide all manner of benefits too. Your back garden, a forest wilderness, a local park, a window box – these are all ‘nature’ to me. Additionally, I consider indoor plants as valuable sources of a nature fix and I’m very keen on bringing the outside, in!
There are three basic ways to connect with nature:
- View nature: from a window, in a picture
- Contact nearby nature: get out in your garden, visit a local park, feed your local wildlife
- Participate in nature-based activities: walk in the woods, do some volunteering for your local nature reserve, go wild swimming
Evidence that being connected to nature is good for us
Evidence comes from many different subject areas, which means the findings give a very broad view of our health and wellbeing: immunity, self-esteem, anxiety and stress, and crime rates to name but a few!
Today’s task: In the comments let me know (a) what is ‘nature’ to you and (b) how do you get your nature fix?
In Part 2 I highlight some of the interesting ways that connecting with nature improves our health and wellbeing.