Greenspace can give your wellbeing just the boost it needs

Posted by Karen in Wellbeing

As daily life takes us further away from our anchor with the natural world, I can’t help wondering, are we underestimating the benefits nature has on our well-being?

This Saturday 10th October marks World Mental Health Day. Mental health problems affect 1 in 4 people every year, yet too often people are afraid to talk about their experiences because they fear it will affect their jobs or relationships. This year, World Mental Health Day aims to raise awareness of what can be done to ensure that people with mental health problems can live without stigma and with dignity.

In the UK, 70 million days are lost from work each year due to mental ill health (anxiety, depression and stress related conditions) making it the leading cause of sickness absence.

As Time to Change (an anti-stigma campaign run by the leading mental health charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness) say on their website, we all have mental health, just like we all have physical health, so you don’t need to be an expert to have a conversation with someone to find out how they are doing. Little things can make a big difference.

Little things like getting outside more – be it taking regular walks in green space, getting active in the garden or on an allotment, planning a hike with a good friend – can really boost your wellbeing.

Karen at Hazel Hill Woods Nature Reserve

Indeed there’s a growing body of research highlighting the benefits nature and greenspace has on our wellbeing and mental health. It confirms what we have always known – consciously or unconsciously – that we have a hard wired disposition to connect with the natural world (as the biologist E.O Wilson put it).

Take a moment to think about how you feel after you have spent time outdoors – do you feel more relaxed, grounded, alert, and clear-headed?

I see it time and again with the clients I work with in Victoria Park, east London and London’s other green spaces. They arrive on autopilot and at a fast pace, but then we walk across the park and their mind and body begins to slow down. They relax and open up.

In fact, when we walk, our brain waves slow down because the mind starts to focus on the physical movement. This creates space in our head for clearer thinking. A chance to streamline thoughts, reflect and generate new ways of thinking, ideas and solutions.

Taking some time out from our daily routine in greenspace can have emotional, psychological and physical benefits which help us deal better with stress and anxiety. It can help us keep perspective, feel more positive, more content, as well as rested and reinvigorated.

Natural settings are everywhere; we don’t have to travel far. They are also healthy spaces to be away from traffic noise, pollution and the pressure of everyday life.

Self Development Weekend in Nature – Hazel Hill Woods

But if you do want to get away from it all….. book one of our self development weekends in nature.

Natural open space has a calming impact on our way of thinking and looking at things. My colleague Simon Hawtrey-Woore and I see it time and again in our work with people in nature.

We’ve teamed up to combine our expertise of working outdoors to offer a series of self development workshops (weekends and days) in nature, the first, Coming back to your senses, reconnecting with your values, will take place at Hazel Hill Woods, near Wiltshire, Salisbury on  6-8 November’15.

This weekend in nature will give participants an opportunity to change rhythms and to explore and clarify their deepest values so they can guide and enrich their life. For more information about this weekend and to book a place, click here.

Wishing you all a great weekend

Warm wishes, Karen



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