I’ve just come back from a short trip to Vanuatu and I feel on top of the world! I’m sure it’s because I spent time connecting with nature. It’s a different feeling to a city holiday.
We all know being close to nature is good for us but in our everyday life it can be difficult to find enough time to be outdoors. I know that I can get stuck in my office, behind the computer and the less exercise I do, the less I want to do!
So I would like this blog to be a positive reminder for both of us to regularly take time out, breathe in fresh air, walk barefoot on the grass or sand, swim in the ocean or just sit in the garden and admire a plant!
In the busyness of life, I’d forgotten how incredible Mother Nature is. I went to Tanna Island and swam into a cave where the sun shone in from above making the water crystal clear and turquoise blue. For me, it was a spiritual moment of connectedness to nature and our beautiful world. Words cannot express the inner peace and joy I experienced. During that time all the negatives that often occupy my mind completely disappeared. Mother nature helps us to be happy and relaxed in life.
I also visited Yasur Volcano – crazy I know to stand at a live volcano – but it was an incredible experience. Although it was a bit eerie being completely surrounded by grey ash, the sound (like a giant snoring) echoed through my chest and made me realise how incredible our planet earth is. At the top of the volcano, when the sun set, we were in darkness and could see red, hot lava spitting into the sky. A natural firework display. Quite a phenomenon, that took my breath away.
We all know it feels good to get out in nature but did you know that there are scientifically proven health benefits to connecting with the natural world? In fact it’s so beneficial, that it now has various names: nature therapy , green therapy, eco therapy, to name a few. But what is great is that the benefits of connecting with nature that we knew instinctively before, is now backed up with science, scans and research reports.
Here’s how being in the great outdoors, connecting with nature, is good for you.
Nature reduces stress and anxiety
Being out in nature has a measurable, positive effect on your stress levels lowering your risk of anxiety and depression. Even if you live and work in high rise glass and steel buildings, having a dose of the natural world can help lift your mood, your cognitive function, and your mental health. Whether it’s a walk in the park or even having a plant on your desk or being able to look out of the window, any connection with nature will help.
Connection with nature is healing
Studies have shown that even being able to see a natural landscape can help hospital patients recover faster.
It also helps your immune system function better. Scientists have found more than twenty pathways or connections between exposure to nature and improved health, protecting you from heart disease, depression, and diabetes.
Nature changes your perceptions of the world.
Researchers have found that walking through a rural area changed the participants attitude toward their to-do list. They saw their tasks as more manageable than participants who walked through city streets.
People who exercise outdoors move faster, have a lowered perception of effort, enjoy their exercise more, and are more likely to stick to their routine than people exercising in a gym.
Nature is great for your mental health
It feels so good to be near the ocean, a river or a waterfall because the air near moving water is full of negative ions that can act as natural anti-depressants. It’s the same effect as the change in the air after a thunderstorm when the air is no longer oppressive but clear and fresh.
There are now many studies which show that people living in green areas, or who have access to green spaces in cities, have significantly better mental wellbeing than people who live cut off from nature.
So do yourself a favour, improve your life and mental state, step outside and spend time with mother nature. Use your senses – notice what you can see, hear, feel, taste and touch in the garden.
If you have had an experience where the beauty of your surroundings has left you in awe please share with me, I’d love to hear about it.
I’ve recorded a short video for you about the benefits of connecting with nature every day. Click here to watch.