Many of us may feel disconnected from the Earth. Our busy lives mean that we may not be able connect with the Earth and nature as much as we need or would like to. Studies suggest this disconnect affects our mental wellbeing.
The ‘Biophilia’ hypothesis
Edward Wilson created the ‘biophilia’ hypothesis which raises the notion that all humans evolved in nature and are at their happiest in a natural setting. Mental and physical stress can be reduced by spending time outside in nature.
Reconnecting with the present moment.
Being outside has so many positive mental health benefits. Taking the time to notice the sound of the birds, watch the clouds move, notice the colours of the blossom can all help draw you into the present moment. When we are in that moment our minds worry less and we feel calmer. We may also not feel so alone as we notice all the creatures around us such as butterflies, birds and bees. Walking on the ground, feeling your feet in your shoes or even feeling your feet touch the grass or sand can help to connect you to the ground and the ground to you. Feeling grounded can help if you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or suffer from panic attacks.
Being outside can also physically benefit our health, especially if we become more active and less sedentary. Gardening is a great form of physical activity for all age groups and abilities. The sun is a great source of vitamin D which is important for bone health, our immune health and our mental health. There are many of us who don’t have gardens that would welcome a safe place in nature that would allow us to explore plants, grow vegetables and flowers and be artistic.
If you would like to be more active in nature in a safe, organised and supportive environment then attending a Dorset Mind eco therapy session may help improve your mental and physical wellbeing. During a session you can learn how to grow vegetables, gardening skills & create nature based art. Nature based mindfulness activities help you to take notice of the wonders the Earth has to offer.
If you would be interested in exploring nature through eco therapy to help mild to moderate anxiety, depression, grief, loss, isolation and loneliness please email Sharon.firstname.lastname@example.org
Our guest blogger:
Huge thanks to our guest blogger Sharon Best, our GAP Project Coordinator, for her piece on the link between nature and mental health and the benefits an activity such as eco therapy can have on our mental and physical wellbeing.
Dorset Mind offers group support that can also help with your wellbeing. The group offers peer support and helps to reduce stigma by normalizing conversations about mental health. You can also check out further support for stress and mental health here.