Its Mental Health Awareness Week. This years theme is how nature can benefit mental health. Mind Charity looks at how nature can benefit mental health and provides inspiring ideas on how to get out in nature.
How can nature benefit my mental health?
Spending time in green space or bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. For example, doing things like growing food or flowers, exercising outdoors or being around animals can have lots of positive effects. It can:
- improve your mood
- reduce feelings of stress or anger
- help you take time out and feel more relaxed
- improve your physical health
- improve your confidence and self-esteem
- help you be more active
- help you make new connections
Nature and mental health problems
Spending time in nature has been found to help with mental health problems including anxiety and depression. For example, research into ecotherapy (a type of formal treatment which involves doing activities outside in nature) has shown it can help with mild to moderate depression. This might be due to combining regular physical activity and social contact with being outside in nature.
Being outside in natural light can also be helpful if you experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that affects people during particular seasons or times of year. And people tell us that getting into nature has helped them with many other types of mental health problems.
Struggling to find things to do in nature, besides going for a walk. Mind Charity provides so may inspiring ides....
- Plant a garden or visit a pick your own fruit and vegetable garden center
- Eat meals outdoors
- Watch the stars
- Try exercising outdoors, like going for a jog, yoga or attend an outdoor class.
- Pick up litter
- Try bird watching