Updated: May 7, 2021
Mental Health Awareness week 2021: Monday 10th May – Sunday 16th May.
How does nature impact our wellbeing?
The main focus for the upcoming Mental Health Awareness week is Nature. There have been many studies into the effect nature can have on a person’s wellbeing mentally, physically and socially.
Up to 55% of humanity currently live in urban areas and by 2050 it may be up to 68%. As we have seen such a decline in the amount of exposure to nature and access to natural environments, we have seen an increase in anxiety and mental health conditions in urban areas as many as 1 in 4 adults in the UK are affected by mental health each year.
It has been proven that being surrounded by nature helps to reduce cortisol levels. Cortisol is also known as the “Fight or Flight” hormone which helps your body cope with stressful situations. If you are in a stressed state for a prolonged period your cortisol levels will remain high which can have a negative impact on your mood such as making you feel anxious, tired or having low energy levels. In a review of 24 separate areas, studies in Japan have shown that just looking at natural landscapes such as forests reduce the release of cortisol by 13.4% while walking in nature has been shown to reduce it by 15.8%.
Many studies show that the human brain functions differently in a natural setting than in an urban one with the natural setting positively affecting our emotions, feelings and wellbeing.
Sleep pattern is a good example of this, being outside in the natural day light/ nature can help to rebalance your sleep cycle. Our circadian rhythm is reset by being outside in daylight and nature (especially early in the morning) and boosting your serotonin levels which makes us feel happier and calmer. When it gets darker our melatonin levels increase which is responsible for making us naturally sleepier.
Being in nature or even viewing scenes of nature reduces anger, fear and stress. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally it contributes to your physical wellbeing by reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and the production of the stress hormones. Research done in hospitals, schools and offices has shown that a simple plant in a room can have a significant impact on stress and anxiety.
Wellity events for the week
Monday 10th May – 12pm (Noon)
· How does nature enhance our wellbeing
· Different types of nature
· Tips for connecting with nature
· Mental, physical and social wellbeing
Friday 14th May – 12pm (Noon)
· Improving psychological wellbeing at work
· Tips for engaging nature
As well as the training programmes we are running we are also going to be running a competition based on photographs that we will ask you to send in to us here at Wellity.
BEE WILD – Prize: 1 year membership to your local wildlife trust
BEE CALM – Prize: 1 year membership to headspace
BEE-AUTY IN BLOOM – Prize: 1 year membership to the Royal Horticultural Society
Details of what kind of photos we want to see for each category will be posted shortly so keep your eyes peeled on our social media pages to be in with a chance of winning the three amazing prizes!
We look forward to next week’s programmes and also to seeing some inspiring photography competition entries.