Nature is good for us. Well...duh. There’s plenty of evidence that exposure to nature is good for people’s health, well-being and happiness. Less is known about why nature is good for us. Simply put, nature is good for us because we are part of nature. We are human animals evolved to make sense of the natural world and this embeddedness in the natural world can often be forgotten and overlooked.
The human-nature connection has been studied by academics for decades. Research shows that people who are more connected with nature are usually happier in life and more likely to report feeling their lives are worthwhile. Nature can generate a multitude of positive emotions, such as calmness, joy, creativity and can facilitate concentration.
Nature connectedness is also associated with lower levels of poor mental health; in particular lower depression and anxiety levels. But mentally, we can become disconnected from nature because we’re now deeply embedded in a human-made world.
This week we’re trying to get into the habit of reconnecting with nature through some simple exercises; something all of us can do each and every day, in most things we do.
Take Note. Start writing a list of ‘3 Good Things in Nature‘ each day. Whether that be noticing the song of a bird to the wind rustling through the trees. Writing down three good things in nature each day for a week can lead to a sustained increase in nature connection – and that increase was linked with improvements in psychological health.
Feel the earth. Stand barefoot on grass; feel how solid it feels beneath your feet. Close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths while you focus on your connection to the earth.
Drive the scenic route. No matter where you’re driving to, try taking the most scenic route you can, especially on a warm day. Try it on the morning commute to help you arrive at work feeling a little more uplifted.
Picnic with friends. We’ve been used to doing this much more than ever before. Swap sitting indoors for a wander around the park when you want to catch up with a friend. Or take your business meetings outside too...it’s so much easier and you get some of those daily steps in too.
Eat lunch outside. Top up on vitamin D by eating your lunch outside, if possible try and find somewhere green but if that's not possible don’t let it stop you.
Watch the sunrise or set. Pick the most convenient time and just watch the earth shift, it’s incredibly powerful and grounding.