Mental Health Awareness Week - Mental Health and Nature

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and the focus is all about  noticing nature and making a habit of connecting to nature every day. Of course, every day of every year should be about helping and supporting everyone to promote their good mental health and well-being (along with their good physical health too), yet an awareness week helps to remind us all of the importance of self-care and looking after ourselves better.

Spending time in nature has a lot of research to support its benefits for your mental health. It can help you to reduce your anxiety and stress levels, and can help boost your mental health and well-being.  I certainly find that running and walking in nature helps me to feel calmer, more positive and boosts my own sense of well-being (and exercise, such as walking or running, helps with mental health too).

In my opinion, few things beat finding a nice quiet place to enjoy and explore nature on a nice day. Getting away from the usual daily load at home and work, and switching off from screens, means you can just focus on the sights, smells and sounds of what is going on around you.   

mental health awareness week hypnotherapy in ely

 

This weekend we headed out as a family for a nature walk around Ely. Whilst I've run many (if not most) of the trails and paths around Ely over the last decade or so, it turns out that to the rest of them it was all pretty new where we headed. We had a lovely relaxed walk around the Ely country park and down by the river, and I think we all enjoyed spotting the signs of wildlife (including a resting heron), and the chance to be away from the screens and distractions at home. It was lovely to get out in nature and I think we all benefited from it.

Here's the view over the water, with Ely Cathedral there in the distance:  

mental health awareness week anxiety hypnotherapy in ely.png

And here are a bunch of monkeys standing in the meadow by the river, having just spotted the heron and some baby geese on the far bank: 

mental health nature hypnotherapy in ely

 

Mental Health and Nature

Spending time in nature is good for your mental health. It helps you to reduce stress and anxiety and boosts your mental health and sense of well-being. I've written about this and suggested it a number of times before. It really is a good thing to do for your mental health.

A lot or research demonstrates the benefits of time in nature for reducing anxiety and stress, and in supporting your mental health and well-being. You can read more about it in these articles elsewhere on my website: 

Using Nature To Reduce Stress and Boost Mental Health

Using Nature To Positively Impact Your Mental Health

In essence, the research shows that spending time in nature produces significant benefits in reducing your stress and anxiety levels and in boosting your sense of mental health and well-being (Hunter, Gillespie and Chen, 2019). And just ten or twenty minutes sitting or walking in nature can have a meaningful impact in reducing stress, anger and anxiety (Meredith et al, 2020).

And you may also want to take a quick look at this article and video that I recorded on location in the New Forest about time in nature for anxiety and stress reduction: Time In Nature For Mental Health - Hypnotherapy in Ely Vlog

Further research has also looked at the importance of nearby nature for mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic. The frequency of green space use and the existence of green window views from within the home was associated with increased levels of self-esteem, life satisfaction, and subjective happiness and decreased levels of depression, anxiety, and loneliness (Soga et al, 2020).

You can read more about this here: Reduce Anxiety and Stress With Nature During The Pandemic

Research by the Mental Health Foundation also suggests that nearly half of people in the UK found that visiting green spaces, such as parks, helped them to cope throughout the pandemic.

And if you look through those articles you get to see me out and about walking and running in all the weathers, from snow to sunshine. Got to love nature and everything the varied weather brings our way! 

 

Good Mental Health 

There are many things that you can do to promote your mental health and well-being. Research supports activities such as exercise, getting enough sleep and focusing on elements of positive psychology, amongst other things (for more on these have a look through the articles here on my website) . Finding time to spend in nature, and to connect with nature, is a valuable step you can take to support your mental health, and to help reduce things like anxiety and stress. 

To your good mental health and wellbeing,

Dan Regan

Online Skype and Zoom Hypnotherapy  

Face-to-face hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket

 

Struggling with anxiety, stress, worry and fear and need some help? Find out how I can help with a Complimentary Hypnotherapy Strategy Session. Learn more here: Appointments

Find out what dozens of other people have said after their hypnotherapy sessions with Dan: Hypnotherapy Testimonials

And check out these powerful hypnosis downloads that can start helping you right away with anxiety, confidence and more: Hypnosis Downloads (including my Natural Calmness hypnosis download which builds upon the research and evidence supporting time in nature)

Natural Calmness hypnosis download

 

References:

Hunter MR, Gillespie BW and Chen SY-P (2019). Urban Nature Experiences Reduce Stress in the Context of Daily Life Based on Salivary Biomarkers. Front. Psychol. 10:722. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00722

Meredith, G.R., Rakow, D.A., Eldermire, E.R., Madsen, C.G., Shelley, S.P. and Sachs, N.A., 2020. Minimum Time Dose in Nature to Positively Impact the Mental Health of College-Aged Students, and How to Measure It: A Scoping Review. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, p.2942.

Soga, M., M. J. Evans, K. Tsuchiya, and Y. Fukano. 2020. A room with a green view: the importance of nearby nature for mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ecological Applications 00(00): e02248. 10.1002/eap.2248.