Understanding the Role of Nature in Promoting Our Mental Health
Happy Earth Day! Yes, the 22nd of April is Earth Day!
Our mother nature too has a B’ date! Ideally, this is a day to pay gratitude to Mother Earth. With so much to offer to human-kind paying gratitude to nature is indeed required. Well, we all are aware that earth offers us the major elements that allow us to live. These core elements are water, fire, land, and wood. But, that’s not it! Nature also aids in boosting our mental health. This earth day you let us understand how our environment boosts our mental wellness.
Up until 2016, the impact of nature on our mental wellness was not that well-established. However, a moment of change was marked when on September 12, 2016; American Psychiatric Association noted that,
“One area of substantial research is the benefit of natural environments or green spaces which can provide a calming atmosphere evoke positive emotions and facilitate learning and alertness. Experiencing nature helps people recover from the mental fatigue of work. Some research has found that activity in natural outdoor settings can help reduce the symptoms of ADHD in children.”
After this, a stream of researches aimed at understanding the impact of nature on the human brain was conducted. Each one showing results in line with the findings of APA.
Time for us to understand the same. Also, we shall discuss some nice ways to use nature this Earth Day and enhance our mental well-being!
So, tighten up your seat-belts we are going for a nature ride…
Ways to Use Nature for Mental Health:
- Boost-up Your FOCUS
You must have heard of the word micro-breaks? They are the small breaks you take while working on a task so that you can relax. How do you generally take your micro-breaks? Scrolling through the phone? Closing your eyes? Taking a mini nap? Well, ever considered looking at an image of nature or the plant placed around the corner?
If not then you better add this in your micro-breaks. Wondering why?
Here is your answer:
“Researchers found that interrupting an attention-demanding task with a digital image of nature for just 40 seconds improved both focus and subsequent performance on the task.”
- STRESS? What’s That?
We all wish to befriend stress from our lives. Therefore, we try an ‘N’ number of tactics that could help us manage and cope with stress effectively. But hey! The best solution is lying right there in your living area. If not, then definitely you can find it right outside your house. Let us stop running around the bush and get straight to the point! I am suggesting you look at the plant placed in your living area or the tree in your garden area. Thinking why? Research supports the notion that,
“Spending time in nature can counter the effects of daily stressors that, when extreme, can threaten our health.”
- Find Your CALM
When a stressor tries to enter our periphery of peace, our bodily sensations lose their state of equilibrium. As a result of this, we end up experiencing chaos both inside our body and outside in our surroundings. Focusing on our breath can definitely help here. But, one more tactic can multiply the calming effect that deep breathing has to offer. The tactic here is- just look at trees, real or virtual; the calming effect
Studies have shown that even sitting on a bench and looking at trees — or simply sitting inside looking at a picture of trees — can reduce blood pressure as well as the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, promoting calmness and well-being.
- Feel HAPPY
We tend to try different ways to feel happy and stay happy. Some of us are our happiest while baking cookies while others experience this joy through exercising. But, this Earth Day, let us do things little differently, and find happiness by merely sitting in our garden or by the side of the little planter.
A Stanford University study examined nature’s effect on our tendency to brood, or continuously fret about all of our shortcomings. It was found that the participants who walked in nature quieter brains, and they were no longer dwelling on the negatives of their lives.
- Experience AWE
Awe is one of the self-transcendent emotions that makes us mentally strong and happier. Awe can be defined as an overwhelming feeling of reverence, fear, admiration, etc., produced by that which is grand, extremely powerful, or sublime. One of the major sources of experiencing awe in Nature! This feeling grows big enough to calm our thoughts.
How to Reconnect with Nature this EARTH DAY?
Here is some fun through which you can connect with Mother Earth:
1. Connect through NATURE.
Although traditionally Earth Day is about paying gratitude to Earth, you can also offer to someone else through nature. This way, you both can connect through nature. How about giving a positive plant to your loved one this Earth Day?
2. Appreciate NATURE.
Just sit in your garden and praise the nature around you. Appreciate the flowers blooming, plants growing, clouds moving in the sky, and the wind whistling in your ear. Acknowledge the beauty around us and let yourself flow in it.
3. Activate your SENSES.
Have you heard of the 5-4-3-2-1 mindfulness tool? It is a technique that helps you stay grounded when anxiety swipes in. This Earth Day, practice it with mother nature. This will activate your senses on one hand and help you control your anxiety on the other.
4. RECYCLE and Uplift Yourself
This one has to be my favorite. Recycling is a way of letting our creative juices flow on one hand and saving Mother Nature on the other hand. What could be a better gift to mother earth than this? Recycle at least one product. It can be as little as a newspaper or as giant as a big water tank, the choice is yours. Just RECYCLE and make way for happiness.
5. Get your HANDS DIRTY
Plant a new plant! If you can’t manage to get a new plant, it is okay! Just take care of the ones you already have. Give them love, attention, and spend a good time with them. Don’t just sit in this Earth Day, get up, get your hands dirty and enjoy the mental health benefits that Mother Nature has to offer.
Now that you know exactly how to boost your mental health this Earth Day… start working on it now!
Do let us know which way are you picking up to reconnect nature this Earth Day!
Happy Earth Day to you all once again.
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