by Webmaster, 21st October 2021
It’s all too easy to hide away indoors after the clocks change, but watching wildlife and being out in nature has proven health benefits
It’s been a tough couple of years for most of us and the pandemic has taken its toll on the nation’s mental health. According to the Office for National Statistics, the rates of depression have doubled. “There’s a rising tide of people who haven’t previously experienced mental health problems, but are now finding themselves in that position,” explains Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, a mental health charity.
This problem is exacerbated at this time of year because of the dark nights, colder weather and tendency to stay indoors. Fortunately there are some very simple changes that can make all the difference to our moods, such as wrapping up warm, going for a short walk in the woods or even a gentle stroll around your own garden. Being close to nature and watching the birds sour in the sky and squirrels scurrying around can lift our spirits enormously.
In fact, a survey by the Mental Health Foundation found powerful evidence of the positive impact that engaging with nature can have on mental health.
Three-quarters of Welsh adults said being close to nature improves their mood and almost half of Welsh adults said being close to nature helps them cope with stress. Meanwhile, more than four in ten Welsh adults said it made them feel less worried and anxious.
“Nature is a powerful ally in protecting our mental health, preventing distress and ensuring good mental wellbeing,” says Jenny Burns, of the Mental Health Foundation.
“During the pandemic, millions of us discovered nature’s power to relieve stress, worry, anxiety and restore us with positive emotions, such as joy.
“While nature won’t solve all our problems, prioritising time in nature can really help support good mental health. However the most important thing is the quality of our experience, and feeling like we connect with nature by trying to notice it’s beauty and absorb its sights, sounds and scents.”
For more tips on how to improve your mental health, visit: www.mentalhealth.org.uk