When we spend a day in the woods or an afternoon at the beach, we feel better. Something shifts. Connecting with nature is the original and most available way to improve our mental health. When we feel disconnected from nature, we start to feel distant from others and ourselves. Getting back to mother Earth is easy, free, and endlessly uplifting. While we know in our hearts and bodies that nature makes us feel better,
science also has some things to say about the connection between nature, mental health, and recovery. Let’s dive into some of the science-backed facts and practices behind nature medicine.
Nature makes us feel more connected and present in the moment. A study conducted at the University of British Columbia supports this idea. The study revealed that when participants immersed themselves in nature, it freed them from thoughts of the past or worries about the future. They were able to simply “be here now” and this had a direct and positive impact on their mental health.
You don’t have to spend hours in nature to get the benefits. Research also finds that simple practices like including plants in your home or paying attention to trees in the city can improve your mental health. If you’re spending most of your time in the city, don’t worry! You can still get the benefits of nature, as long as you choose to hone in on the natural elements of the city, rather than the human-made elements.
An American Scientist study reported that simply looking at scenes of nature improved the overall mood of participants. Nature relieves stress, lets us be in the moment, and improves overall wellbeing. These are all essential for a healthy life and recovery.
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