There is more and more evidence coming out that nature has a really positive impact on people's wellbeing and their mental health. For many people though, nature is not an important part of their lives.
In a study done by the National Trust and Derby University they found that only 19% of children regularly notice wildlife, 57% of adults rarely or never watched the sunrise in the last year and only 27% of people regularly watched the clouds.
All of these activities are completely free and have been shown to make us feel good so the question is, how can we improve our relationship and connectedness to nature?
There are a few simple ways that you can simply notice nature more often in your everyday life. This simple awareness can be built into whatever time suits your lifestyle from noticing nature before you get into your car in the morning to organising family walks.
In the research carried out by the National Trust and Derby University (link below) they asked people to take part in the noticing nature challenge. The challenge covered a huge range of activities that people could do in nature and all the participants had to do was pick one of the following activities each day for a week.
So, are you ready to take on the challenge?
Here are the suggested activities:
All you need to do to take part in the challenge is to pick one of the above activities and make sure you do it! You can repeat activities or do a different one everyday it really doesn’t matter just challenge yourself to notice nature for a week.
Taking pictures of different types of mushrooms in my local wood
Watching the sunrise
Spending time with my animals in the woods
Watching the clouds
Running up a hill to enjoy the view
Going for a run on a frosty morning
The results of this study were that there were a number of benefits to the participants. They reported that they were able to be more “in the moment” with nature, be more mindful and felt that they could “slow the pace of life” for a bit. Overall people found the activities calming and relaxing.
For those people who took part in these activities with friends, colleagues or family members, they reported that they were able to create stronger bonds and more personal connections and experienced meaningful moments and made new memories.
Interestingly also, participants found that doing these activities often had to step outside of their comfort zone to do so and then felt accomplished and fulfilled for doing so.
All of these benefits are great ways to improve your mental health and wellbeing in general. So, if you do decide to give the challenge a go, let me know how you experienced it.
Here is a link to the research that this blog is based on, I would highly recommend taking the time to read it as there is so much useful information in there: https://nt.global.ssl.fastly.net/documents/noticing-nature-report-feb-2020.pdf
The way we think has a huge impact on our mental health. If you are looking to overcome your anxiety or just improve your mental health then first you need to know what thoughts are making things worse.
This download gives you a list of the most common ways we think negatively. All you need to do is see which ones you do most.
Also, keep an eye on your emails! I will be sending you a really useful video that goes with this exercise.