“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”John Burroughs 

 Nature has a calming effect on our minds and bodies. When we are surrounded by its beauty and peace, we can relax and de-stress. Being in nature gives us an opportunity to unwind, decompress, and escape the rat race of everyday life. We can allow ourselves to slow down, stop the overthinking we may be anguished by, as well as ground ourselves. 

 Here are some examples of how connecting with nature can help improve wellbeing: 

  • Reduce stress: Spending time in nature can help to reduce stress by providing a sense of calm and relaxation. The sound of birdsong, the smell of flowers, and the feeling of the sun on our skin can all help to lower our heart rate and blood pressure. 
  • Improve mood: Nature can help to improve our mood by boosting our levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is associated with happiness. Spending time in nature can also help to reduce negative thoughts and emotions. 
  • Increase creativity: Nature can help to increase our creativity by providing us with new inspiration and ideas. The sights, sounds, and smells of nature can help us to think more freely and creatively. 
  • Boost self-esteem: Nature can help to boost our self-esteem by making us feel more connected to the world around us. Spending time in nature can help us to feel more grounded and at peace. 
  • Reduce pain: Studies have shown that spending time in nature can help to reduce pain, both physical and emotional. The calming effects of nature can help to distract us from pain and can also help to reduce stress, which can contribute to pain. 
  • Improve sleep: Spending time in nature can help to improve sleep quality. The exposure to sunlight can help to regulate our circadian rhythm, and the calming effects of nature can help us to relax and fall asleep more easily. 
  • Boost immunity: Studies have shown that spending time in nature can help to boost our immune system. The exposure to sunlight can help to produce vitamin D, which is essential for immune function. The fresh air and clean water in nature can also help to cleanse our bodies and reduce inflammation. 
  • Reduce loneliness: Spending time in nature can help to reduce loneliness and isolation. Being surrounded by nature can make us feel more connected to the world around us and can help to improve our sense of belonging. 
  • Increase happiness: Studies have shown that people who spend time in nature are happier than those who do not. The positive effects of nature on our mental health can help to improve our overall sense of well-being and happiness. 

 A practical short exercise I enjoy recommending to help someone ground themselves and be present is to go for a walk. On that walk, be intentional to avoid distractions and notice the beauty around you. Be it a walk around your home, your block, on a hike, or in the bush, look for and note down five things on your outing. This will allow you to be more present in the moment and will allow you to take in the beauty around you. These are just a few examples of how connecting with nature can help improve wellbeing. If you are looking for ways to improve your mental and physical health, I encourage you to find ways to spend more time in nature. 

Author: Robert Ellison