Ever wonder why you feel chilled out, relaxed, more connected, mellow, however you want to describe it, after a walk along the beach or a meander through the forest??
For many of us the benefits brought about by ”getting back to nature” go without saying and now research spanning 10 years confirms what we have felt. That is, nature has a therapeutic effect on our physical and mental wellbeing. Spending time in nature has been shown to lower our blood pressure, reduce pain, strengthen our immune system and reduce the risk of many types of cancers. In hospitals, studies have shown that patients who have a view of a natural setting heal faster that those who don’t. Another study found prisoners with a view of farmland rather than a courtyard fell ill 25 less often. In the UK a walk in the woodland was found to lower depression in 71% of people compared to 22% who felt their depression increased when they walked through a shopping centre. The reasons why nature has this effect on us are still unclear. However when the World Health Organisation predicts depression will be the second leading cause of disability in the world by 2020, the importance of having access to natural environments and green spaces (particularly in cities with high density living) will become crucial as time goes on. So next time you are feeling a bit down or stressed head to the beach and enjoy the feel of the sand between your toes, or walk around the Mt and absorb all the sounds and smells of the sea and the bush.
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books. John Lubbock