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The benefits of nature connection

woman smiling in nature mountains

"Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things."
― Mary Oliver

There is now a wealth of research that backs up what we already know - that time spent in nature benefits our emotions, bodies and our minds.

What is mental health?

74% of people have at some point felt so stressed they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. For some of us these difficulties may come and go, and for others they may be more long-lasting.

Our mental health is as important as our physical health. When our mental health is good, we feel emotionally well, able to look after ourselves and able to engage with the things that we care about.

When we struggle with our mental health, we can feel overwhelmed and unable to cope, which can make it difficult to manage in our daily lives.

What is mentalheath?
mental health tdy
woman looking sad mental health

Mental health in the UK today

According to the mental health charity MIND - ​

  • 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year in England.

  • 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (like anxiety and depression) in any given week in England.

The pandemic has exacerbated mental health problems by increasing stress, loneliness and anxiety and decreasing access to services.

  • According to the World Health Organisation the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a 25% increase in prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide. ​​

  • 30% of adults in the UK have poorer quality sleep

  • 23% meet with friends less often

  • 15% pursued a hobby less often

  • 12% exercised less often"

The Mental Health Foundation reports that  the 'cost of living crisis' is expected to add extra pressure to the stress people experience in their daily lives. "We expect that the effects of the cost-of-living crisis on public mental health will be on a scale similar to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our survey also found that concerns about finances are having a negative effect on people’s ability to engage in some of the activities known to help protect mental health and prevent problems from developing."

How can nature help?

How can nature help?

girl woman in field in sunshine

"73 % of UK adults surveyed in our YouGov poll said that, connecting with nature has been important in terms of managing their mental health during the pandemic"

Some of the proven benefits of increased time spent in nature include...

  • Improved life satisfaction

  • Reduced anxiety

  • Increased happiness

  • Feelings of vitality

  • Decreased negativity

  • Improved attention span

  • Relief from mental tiredness

  • Increased engagement at work

happy man in river mountains

The healing power of plants and trees

plants
sunshine in woodland trees
  • Stress Reduction Theory (SRT) developed by Ulrich et al. (1991) states that when we see natural landscapes we feel more positive and more calm.

  • Studies have compared the mental health of people forest bathing - Japanese (shinrin-yoku) - with those in an urban environment and confirmed the same findings (Rajoo et al 2020).

  • There are also studies that demonstrate that phytoncides emitted by plants improve our physical health and immune function (Song et al. 2016).

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