Nature and Mental Health

We talk a lot to our participants about the benefits that nature has on mental health. When we say “mental health”, we don’t just mean those people who have a diagnosed mental health condition, but also those who have stress or anxiety in their lives for a short period of time. Poor mental health affects everyone to some degree at some point in their lives and you should never feel like you’re in it alone.

There have been times in the lives of Wild Minds where life has got a bit too much and we have needed something to help us get back to a more healthy place, mentally. This is where nature comes in (and it’s not just us who think it). The mental health charity Mind have issued information about how being in nature, in whatever form suits you, can have significant benefits and they are not alone. Many studies have been undertaken all over the world and the consensus is that nature is a powerful tool when trying to overcome mental health issues.

When times get a bit too much we take to the woodland for a walk, to sit a while and to take some deep breaths. Being in nature allows you to switch off from those things that may be getting on top of you and gives you another focus. Studies have identified that people with little to no access to nature have the worst mental and physical health and that increasing their connection with nature just a little bit can provide drastic improvements over a short period of time.

Simple things from listening to the sounds around you, looking more closely at the plants or smelling nature will cause your brain to reduce the amount of cortisol (stress hormone) being released and increase the amount of dopamine and oxytocin (feel good hormones) in your body. This combination causes you to become less stressed or anxious and more relaxed. It sounds so simple doesn’t it? So why don’t you give it a go?

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