The Importance of Nature on your Mental Health
The Importance of nature on your mental health
Nature is an integral part of our lives and has had a fundamental impact on society over the past year. The importance of this upon both our physical and mental health is ever-present, especially as we enter the hibernal months of winter. Struggles with mental health can be a short term or a long term health condition, which many shy away from sharing. “A 2018 survey by the Mental Health Foundation found that almost three quarters (74%) of people have at some point felt so stressed they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.” By spending time in green spaces, dog walking, exercising outdoors, or being around wildlife can have a positive effect on our mental health.
The ancient Japanese art of forest bathing, often known as nature therapy, is the practice of shinrin-yoku developed in 1980. Spending time out in nature allows us to slow the pace of our day down, giving us time to reconnect with nature and ourselves. Within a heavily technological-based working society, it can be difficult to gain mindfulness, and nature is the perfect prescription.
Walking within nature allows us to appreciate the smaller, simpler things which we may forget about in the everyday. The joy of picking up a moulted jay feather, a quiet moment spent watching a squirrel burying an acorn, or witnessing the profound moment new shoots uncurl in the spring, can be heart-warming.
SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is caused by the change in season, directly affecting energy levels, changes in appetite, and sleep problems. Being in nature can help both your mental health and alleviate the negative effects of SAD. Eco-therapy, a form of therapy which combines both physical and social activity, helps the production of serotonin, a hormone which positively affects our mood. Being in nature can be of huge benefit.
Physical activity within nature can also have a positive effect on our wellbeing. New studies have shown that an antimicrobial organic compound called Phytonicides can boost our immune system. Phytoncides have antifungal and antibacterial qualities, and as humans when we breathe these in, our body responds by creating NK cells. NK cells are natural killer cells which help to enhance the immune response.
At Combe Grove, we believe in having the space to breathe, and based in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty the woodlands and wildflower meadows which surround the Manor House are the ideal location for relaxation and connection. Mental health is as important as your physical health, ensure you make the time for yourself to be surrounded by nature.
If you enjoyed this blog on The Importance of nature on your mental health, check out our new post: Better Sleep, Better life for more tips on mental wellbeing.