Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 – Nature and Wellbeing
This week is Mental Health Awareness week and the theme is ‘nature’! Melo has partnered with Gwent Wildlife Trust and Natural Resources Wales to bring you some top tips on improving your mental wellbeing by connecting with nature. We have some easy suggestions for all ages. We hope these ideas will help you to connect with nature and improve your wellbeing.
Follow us @melo_wales throughout the week as we share some insights into how nature can improve your mental wellbeing.
Nature and our mental health
Those of us who have a love of nature instinctively know the positive impact it has on our wellbeing. Science has shown that our health and happiness improves when we spend time in nature. The benefits are both physical and mental. It ranges from improved fitness and lower blood pressure to reduced anxiety and depression.
Nature can also lift our spirits, energise and excite. Have you noticed how small children beam with joy when discovering a flower or a bug, when they jump in a puddle or blow the seeds from a dandelion? They ask questions about the world around them. “What does a robin sound like?” “How old is that tree?” “Where do hedgehogs sleep?”
This curiosity and excitement about the natural world is innate but as adults we can lose that sense of wonder and delight.
Nature and the Five Ways to Wellbeing
Being curious about the world and challenging ourselves to learn new things is important for keeping the brain active and improving our mental wellbeing. To ‘Keep Learning’ is one of the Five Ways to Wellbeing. Nature gives us many opportunities to practice the Five Ways, including Be Active and Connect. A simple walk in a green space with friends and family is a great way to do this.
If we slow down to notice the little things that spark our curiosity we are also practicing another of the Five Ways to Wellbeing; ‘Notice’. Opening yourself up to exploring the sights, sounds, smells, feel and even taste of nature can be a treat for our senses. By really tuning-in, we are also tuning out to the noise in our heads and that can help us find a sense of peace.
The last of the Five Ways, but not least, is Give. The pleasure associated with helping others, including wildlife, enriches our sense of wellbeing. We can give back to nature in many ways, from feeding the birds to volunteering to improve habitats. Enjoying nature, while looking after it, has to be one of the best ways of improving our own wellbeing.
However you decide to connect with nature, your efforts will be rewarded with a greater sense of wellbeing. But don’t take our word for it. Try it for yourself.
For more information see the extra links below to nature and wellbeing related content
How nature is good for our health and happiness by BBC – Earth
We all intrinsically think that nature must be good for our health and happiness. A recent analysis of a large-scale nature challenge scientifically shows how important feeling part of nature is to our physical and mental health
Natural Resources WalesNatural resources play a vital part in our day-to-day physical and mental wellbeing – providing the places and spaces for us to enjoy healthy connections with nature and other people. Research has shown that people turned to nature to help cope with the pandemic over the last year. Find out more about this and ways to connect with nature in Natural Resources Wales’s blog on 10 May. Follow @natreswales on Facebook and twitter throughout the week as they share people’s stories of how their connection with nature helped them, and offer ways to boost your own wellbeing.
Gwent Wildlife Trust 30 Days WildMental Health Awareness Weeek really highlights the importance of connecting with nature. Taking part in Gwent Wildlife Trust’s 30 Days Wild can help you to get closer to wildlife this June, and feel better for it! What is #30DaysWild? Well, GWT ask everybody to do one wild thing every day in June – for the planet and for your own wellbeing.
Connect with nature for your mental healthFollow us on social media throughout the week to learn more about how a connection with nature can boost your mental wellbeing. Also make sure to use the hashtags #MeloMHA #ConnectWithNature #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek #WalkThisMay and tag us in your posts about how you are connecting with nature this week!
‘There is something to be wondered at in all of Nature’
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