Nature and Health: The connection to mental health and wellbeing

nature and health

With the focus on World Mental Health Day earlier this month, we thought it appropriate to share an important connection between nature and health. Often, the centrepoint of any health discussion circles around diet or even perhaps fitness, leaving the most important piece of the puzzle aside. Mental health and wellbeing is a crucial pillar to overall health. And we don’t just mean chronic conditions like depression. It’s becoming ever more vital to prioritise mindfulness in our day-to-day activities. Especially relevant is taking a look at how busy our lives are today and how connected we are 24/7! While attention in this direction is growing, it’s still considered a little too woo-woo for some. Hopefully today’s post on nature and health might provide a nice transition for you to get started.

Nature and Health: Overview

Nature offers one of the most powerful boosts to mental health and wellbeing. In fact, there is even scientific research to back it up! The wonderful feelings of tranquility and peace that being in nature provides for humans has now been shown to provide impressive benefits to health and peace of mind. Known as forest bathing or forest therapy, this involves spending time in the woods as a way to rejuvenate the body, get away from the stresses of city life and essentially connect nature and health.

Below are some of the findings to date.

Nature and Health: Scientific Evidence

Boosting Immune System: Spending just several hours in a forest has been shown to boost the immune system, including increasing natural killer cell activity by 50 percent (source, source)

Restored Mental Energy: Three experiments were designed to test the hypothesis that exposure to restorative environments facilitates recovery from mental fatigue. Only participants exposed to the restorative environments improved their performance on the final attention test. Furthermore, this improvement occurred whether they viewed the scenes in the standardized time condition or in the self-paced time condition. (study)

Improved cognition: Numerous studies show that walking in nature or viewing pictures of nature can improve directed-attention abilities (source)

Reduce Stress: One Japanese study showed that gazing at forest scenery for as little as 20 minutes reduced salivary cortisol levels by 13.4 percent (source)

Nature and Health

Things to Try

Walking in the Woods: A 90 minutes walk in the nature have been shown to lower blood pressure and adrenaline, boost healthy mood and decrease feelings of depression, fatigue, confusion and anxiety.

Grounding: The term originates from the idea that feeling the earth’s energy helps your body to resync its own energy. This idea spans many cultural traditions and spiritual practices. To explain in a bit more detail, the idea is to sync with the earth’s frequencies:

“Of utmost important to all life on our planet, the Earth’s field has a normal lower range of ~7.8 Hz, also known as the Schumann Resonance. This natural rhythm is found in multiple places within the human organism, and it is inherent to functioning at our most efficient, sustainable, and coherent state. Specifically, the human body cavity resonates at 7.8 Hz. Our Alpha and Theta brain waves both border the frequency of 7.8 Hz. These brain waves are associated with insight, intuition, inspiration, meditation, relaxation, and calmness. This enhances our mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing.” (source)

How can you practice grounding? It’s as simple as walking barefoot on the soil.

Nature and Health

Getting the Gardening Done: There is nothing like rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty. In fact, soil carries natural micro nutrients that the plants then absorb for us to eat later and assimilate into our cells. But aside from just that, getting your hands dirty can make us happier! One post said “a strain of bacterium in soil, Mycobacterium vaccae, has been found to trigger the release of seratonin, which in turn elevates mood and decreases anxietysource. Seems like a great reason to get our hands dirty more often!

Take your lunch outside: As little as 30 minutes per week surrounded by greenery can reduce the rates of high blood pressure and depression by 7 percent and 9 percent, respectively (Source). Even a window with a view to nature can have powerful effects on cognition (source)

Bring nature to you: The power of plants shouldn’t go unnoticed. When it comes to your workspace or home, one thing you can do is increase the number of plants! It will add a touch of greenery for visual impact and the plants will clean and oxygenate the air!

Make your next holiday a camping trip! What a fantastic way to rejuvenate your immunity, enjoy the outdoors and play! Our Rawl Ups are the perfect addition as a snack for these kind of adventures! Furthermore, they are nut free and have over 8g of protein per bag!

Om Yoga Show

nature and health

To conclude, we are taking part in the Om Yoga Show in the coming days. Will you be there? We are showcasing some of our Organic Raw Vegan range at stand E2. Be sure to stop by and say hello! Also, it’s a great way to get an idea of other ways to connect nature and health: yoga & mindfulness!

Lyda Borgsteijn

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