Explains the mental health benefits of nature and gives tips and ideas to try. Also provides information on formal ecotherapy programmes, and where to find out more.
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This page has some tips and suggestions for enjoying nature:
Don't worry if some ideas don't feel right for you – see if you can find some that do, or adapt one to suit you.
"I love watching the garden change, the difference I make when I dig a bed, plant something or even cut the grass... and honestly I am no gardener! An easy way for everyone to connect with outside is to watch the birds – put a bird feeder to attract them. Otherwise just get outside, blow the cobwebs away, breathe deeply... bliss."
"I very much enjoy being part of a community garden. It gives me a regular weekly time to devote to being outdoors, to work alongside people of lots of different ages and nationalities and teaches me a range of new skills and techniques. It is fantastic to work as part of a larger group, to see positive results in terms of seed and plant growth and harvest and to feel part of the natural cycle of life and see biodiversity at work."
"[I started out] by just finding an empty and unused space in the garden outside my window and tending to it."
"Hill walking and camping help to keep depression and anxiety at bay for my partner, as does trekking and gentle hill walking for me. When you are in nature ... your mind is free of the daily stresses and you can spend your time being in the moment instead."
"I use photography as a creative outlet to express myself and support my health and wellbeing ... It helps you to really see, to be mindful in the moment and rediscover the beauty in your own surroundings. For example, noticing and capturing the resilience of a flower growing with determination though a crack in concrete, or capturing the beauty of raindrop patterns and formulations. The process of observing the outside world breaks the cycle of being caught up with negative internal dialogue."
"I started volunteering on Saturdays when I was in a really low frame of mind, and it really helped me recover more quickly. I work full-time in an office during the week so doing something so active in such a different environment is a lovely contrast."
"Being outside, feeding rabbits, talking to the donkeys, 'socialising' goats and looking after sick lambs is incredibly grounding, no matter what my state of mind... being outside getting muddy in all weathers, breathing fresh air, proudly talking to visitors about the animals and being part of the seasonal cycle of a farm has been life-changing."
Watch Clare talk about how her dog, Watson, reminds her of some important principles of mindfulness:
"My biggest highlight from farming was probably getting to witness goat triplets being born a couple of years ago and help them feed for the first time – there's nothing like literally witnessing the birth of new life to give you perspective and make you feel connected with something much bigger than yourself, which I find very comforting."
This information was published in May 2018. We will revise it in 2021.
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