Get in to Nature
Research has shown that being outside in nature can reduce stress and that more time spent in a green environment is beneficial for your heart and immune system.
It hadn’t occurred to me until I attended an Active Hope workshop that the vast majority of people grow up disconnected from nature. I was very fortunate to have grown up playing in the countryside. This is something I’d taken for granted, not realising how disconnected a lot of my peers in later life actually were.
Evermore research shows the importance of being connected to nature, both for our own mental and physical wellbeing as well as the health of the planet. It’s no wonder we’ve caused so much destruction to ourselves and the place we live when we’ve been brought up in landscapes with very little nature to actually bond with.
Reconnecting with nature can be a very powerful tool in bringing about positive change in oneself and our planet.
How to do it?
1. Make a habit of getting out in to a green space or wooded area. Stop, breathe deeply and use as many of your senses as you safely can to take in your surroundings. Touch, look, smell and listen! Within minutes you could start to reap some of the benefits, whilst after just three weeks of a couple of hours per week you could see big improvements in the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your body and a 30% drop in perceived stress levels.
2. Why not challenge yourself to learn all about the nature around you? Get to know the names of plant species, trees and creatures & animals while you’re enjoying time outside in nature.
3. Aim to go on a brisk early morning walk every day. By doing this you could cut your risk of heart disease, boost your mood and get better sleep. Walking within the first two hours of waking up alerts your body and brain that the day has started. The exposure to natural light will help keep your body-clock in check, in turn giving you better quality of sleep. Read more on the science behind the benefits of early morning brisk walks.
How does it work?
The two main effects of natural nourishment on the immune system are calming and strengthening. The inflammatory ‘alarm-bells’ section of your immune system can be too heightened in modern life. Being in nature can calm these back down to normal levels. Meanwhile the ‘fighting apparatus’ of our immune system needs to be primed and strong to fight off viruses. Three days in nature can have huge and lasting impacts on that fighting apparatus, improving the number and activity of our natural killer cells.
Studies on kids with ADHD has also shown improved levels of concentration for those who gain the natural nourishment of being in green spaces.
It’s amazing to think there are mood boosting microbes released in the soil and aromatic chemicals released by plants that can enhance our immune systems. What better excuse to spend more time in the great outdoors?
Nourish Natural Spaces Near You
Know an area near you where some wild flowers could be sown to enhance it? I have a £5 discount code for Meadow in my Garden whose floral seed mixes are designed to foster the biodiversity of our immediate environment and create a haven for bees, butterflies & birds.