Updated: Sep 15
According to research, spending time in nature relieves mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, and SAD (seasonal affective disorder).
Other studies have found that simply being outdoors or watching scenes of the natural world can stimulate happy feelings and contribute to overall wellness. I know this works for me, and whenever I feel stressed or need to unwind, a quick walk or meditation in nature will resolve my feelings quickly.
The term "nature" has a fairly broad definition. It can refer to green and blue spaces, such as parks, woodland, forests, rivers, marshes, beaches, and canals. Trees on city streets, private gardens, verges, and even indoor plants like window boxes are nature; if it is not practical to get outdoors or into wide-open spaces, watching nature documentaries can benefit our mental health.
Why Nature is the Natural Stress Reliever
Nature is Free
It's completely free! Apart from the occasional parking fee (and transport to get there) nature is free and it is all around us. Not everyone lives near nature as I do; however, there are plenty of parks, even if you create your little garden oasis. I live in an apartment with a rather large balcony with a mini jungle. Last year I had a small family of Striated Pardalotes nesting in one of the pot plants that brought me tremendous joy. You can watch their antics in the Instagram below from one of my other accounts:
It makes you feel more energised. So, if you genuinely don't feel like doing much, go for a walk in nature. Your brain will be reawakened by fresh air, beautiful scents and amazing sights. I find the most extraordinary flora in nature is sometimes the smallest.
Reconnecting with nature relieves stress and relaxes the nervous system. It can lower cortisol levels, heart rate and blood pressure. According to a study published in the Frontiers in Psychology on April 4, 2019, spending just 20 minutes connecting with nature can help lower stress hormone levels.
Nature Makes You Happy
It will make you happy! Exercise and solitude can improve your mood and, in some situations, aid with mild to moderate depression. I find watching a nature documentary is sometimes enough to make me happy and appreciate the wonderful world around me.
Natural Woody Scents Are Calming
Phytoncides, sometimes known as "wood" essential oils, are produced naturally by trees and have a calming impact on our nervous systems. If you can't get into the woods to smell the natural environment, purchasing some essential oil such as cedarwood or a eucalyptus would be beneficial in promoting a sense of calmness.
Walking through green settings can help you find the peace you need to reflect. Creativity can blossom in this peaceful, quiet meditative mood. Being in nature can support creativity and problem solving, especially if you give yourself a break from social media and the noise of living in a city.
Since the 1980s, the Japanese have been 'forest bathing,' referring to a series of leisurely walks lasting between two and four hours that promote wellbeing by immersing the senses in woodland and naturally therapeutic environs. In Japanese medicine, it has become prominent preventative healthcare and therapeutic practice. The good news is that you don't have to travel to Japan to have an unforgettable experience.