Can nature help us be mentally healthy?

Growing up in the countryside I’ve always been an avid lover of nature but recently I’ve discovered studies which demonstrate it’s health benefits far outweigh just that nice fuzzy feeling you get from the fresh air on your face. 

The Health Benefits of Nature

This study from Japan’s Chiba University on 280 subjects in their 20s showed that just 30 minutes in the forest environment promoted lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greater parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity. In effect time spent amongst the trees made the subjects less amped, calming their fight or flight and boosting their rest and digest systems.

Trees can soothe the spirit too, in this study 498 healthy volunteers were studied for the psychological effects of forest bathing. The study found that being amongst the trees resulted in less hostility and depression. 

Still not Convinced on the Science of Nature?

In 2009 Qing Li, a professor at Nippon Medical School found increased NK (natural killer) cell activity in the week after time spend in the forest, a benefit which lasted a month after each weekend in the woods. These NK cells are in the immune system and provide rapid-response to viral infected cells and tumor formation. Spending time in the trees can promote a healthy immune system and cancer prevention.

Implementing Nature Within My Work

All of this research, and a personal love of nature is why when I decided to build my office last year in a garden, amongst the trees. In the past I’ve rented office space in the city and also in a wellbeing centre but you just can’t match the health benefits and calming feeling of being amongst nature. You can have a tour of the Refresh Shed and garden by clicking the video below.

If you suffer from anxiety, chronic pain and stress illnesses such as IBS and migraines sometimes the most powerful thing you can do is to take a step back to think. Stepping back to reconnect to what’s important to you and to understand the way you think. This helps you to be better equipped to deal with life’s challenges and feel mentally strong. It’s why I created the Health Mindset Programme to provide this service in a natural environment.

So when’s the next time you have the opportunity to get out amongst the trees and feel the health benefits of nature?

I’ve love to see pictures of the nature you enjoy, post your pictures of nature below because just looking at nature can have soothing effects.

Until next time.

Zoe

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