This week has been Mental Health Awareness Week and today I want to share with you our blog on how nature can help improve your wellbeing and Mental Health. I remember going on a Cotswold Mindfulness Walk with Ian Banyards team and was invited to hug a tree. "What the hey, why would I want to hug a tree??", was my first thought, On reflection I completely get the rationale now. It had a number of meanings. Connecting with Nature, understanding that we need to protect our plant, practise mindfulness, live in the present while using all of your senses and just to be more open minded. There was lots of lessons in just that one invitation. During the pandemic, MH has often been a topic discussed by the whole nation. Throughout the pandemic many of us have turned to nature, many people reported that being in nature was their go-to coping strategy for improving MH. The Mental Health Foundation has pulled together evidence that demonstrates the powerful benefits of nature for our mental health. They look at nature’s unique ability to bring consolation in times of stress but also increase our creativity, empathy, and a sense of wonder. As well as the healing qualities of being in nature, it is about how we open ourselves up and interact with nature that counts. Tips on ways of connecting with nature:
Find nature wherever you are: Nature is all around us, whether you're in the countryside or living in urban areas. There is always nature to discover.
Mindfulness and using your senses: By using mindfulness, you can use all of your senses to bathe in nature and bring calm and a sense of wellbeing.
Get out in nature: Getting out in nature can lift your mood, whether that is walking in a local park, rivers, or visiting beaches.
Bring nature to you: You can bring nature to you, wherever you live, you could start by having house plants or try your hand at growing herb plants. All of this can help you connect with nature.
Exercise in nature: Find a form of exercise that you enjoy and take yourself outside to exercise, you could start by walking in a local park, take up cycling or a team sport, that involves being in the great outdoors.
Nature and creativity: Try putting your creative talents to use in nature. Whether that is the arts, or other hobbies, like photography or writing. It helps you feel more connected to yourself and your surroundings.
Protect nature: It gives an enormous sense of wellbeing, to give back in some way. I have taken to doing a litter pick of my local park on my morning dog walk, which makes it a better place for people to enjoy. As well as this I have chosen to walk more and leave my car at home which has been a conscious decision to protect nature and the environment.
If you enjoy listening to podcasts, you can listen to the Mental Health Foundation Podcast here. Having poor Mental Health is real and you can get help by reaching out to specialists in a variety of different ways. If you want to see how you can get involved then click on this link or if you need help from a Wellbeing Coach then contact us direct on tel no 07583474539 I just want to put it out there and invite you to try hugging a tree next time you're outdoors, it really could be quite enlightening?!?!