Nature and mental health
If you’ve ever seen my stories you will know that I love being outside and I’m a huge fan of the effects being in nature and outdoors has on our health and mental health.
Did you know that being outside in nature can actually reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, reduce blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and reduce the production of stress hormone. Natural light can even reduce symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.
Exposure to Nature has been associated with a positive mindset, psychological wellbeing, meaningfulness, and vitality.
It’s even been shown to increase focus and clarity.
This is related to how our senses connect us to the environment around us, from the shapes, to the scents that trees give off and this allows nature to help our minds rest from everyday stresses.
Being in nature helps the body shift into relaxation and parasympathetic activity, which improves sleep and improves immune function.
Many plants give off phytoncides, antimicrobial volatile organic compounds, which can help reduce blood pressure, alter autonomic activity, and boost immune function. This counters the adverse effects of stress on energy metabolism, insulin secretion, and inflammatory pathways
Didehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) increases after a forest walk. DHEA has cardio protective, anti-obesity, and anti-diabetic properties. Being in nature also increases adiponectin, which protects against atherosclerosis and the immune system’s natural killer cells. NK cells play important protective roles in cancer, viral infections, pregnancy, and our overall health.
Have you ever found your had a bad day, minds filled with so many thoughts or your feeling stressed, a walk in nature can connect you with your surroundings, reduce those stress hormones, reduce the feelings of anxiety and help you to relax, take some breathes, listen to the noises around you to help you calm and enjoy being in nature!
It’s about being outside, being in nature and doing what you enjoy whether that’s Physical exercise outside, walking, playing, going for a walk, these can all help to improve physical health and mental health.
Lower stress levels can even help improve your gut microbiome. Did you know that Stress can reduce the number of friendly bacteria in your gut, creating conditions that allow undesirable microbes to grow. And with 70% off your immune system formed in your gut and 90% serotonin produced in the gut then making sure we have a healthy gut can also help to improve physical and mental wellbeing.