Lewisham Children & Family Centre

National Week of Play: How nature nurtures our mental health

white red haired toddler laughing whilst a butterfly lands on her nose

 

“Our relationship with nature – how much we notice, think about and appreciate our natural surroundings – is a critical factor in supporting good mental health and preventing distress.”

The above quote is taken from ‘Nature: How connecting with nature benefits our mental health‘, a report by the Mental Health Foundation.

 

Immerse yourself in nature and feel the benefit

Every year researchers are finding more and more evidence that being outdoors in nature brings significant improvements in your mental as well as your physical health.

MIND researchers have shown that spending time in nature and connecting to nature reduces stress hormones which help to lower your blood pressures, heart rate and ease muscle tension.

Nature ‘connectedness’ is associated with lower levels of poor mental health, such as depression and anxiety, and improved wellbeing.  Being ‘connected’ to nature means noticing it with all our senses – smelling flowers, listening to birdsong, feeling the surface of a leaf or the bark of a tree.

It is easier to immerse yourself in nature if you have access to a more natural wilder space such as woods, countryside or beach, and less easy to do so if your only access is a window box where you may grow some herbs.

But every little helps and it can be done!

MIND has some ideas and tips for ways to bring nature’s benefits into your life, starting with your own home — one of their ‘quick tips’ is to save glass jars and make your own mini gardens – add some soil, small stones and plants and anything else that you like.

 

Read more about immersing yourself and your family in nature on the Family Corner Blog 

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