Nature and what it offers
Over this past year many people have reconnected with nature more than ever; realising the wonderful benefits it brings to us humans by simply spending time in it. We have begun to hear things such as green health and blue health, recognising the positive impact of being outside and allowing our minds and bodies to soak up the natural experience we gain. No more so than in the periods of lockdown that we have experienced and are still experiencing. Research in the first lockdown conducted by Anglia Ruskin University, with others, concluded “that spending time outdoors and switching off our devices is associated with higher levels of happiness during a period of COVID-19 restrictions.”
That’s not new to us at Fresh Air Fridays. It’s what our programmes are built on so let’s share a few reasons why it’s so important:
- Theories suggest our history as hunter gatherers are responsible for an innate affiliation with nature
- Exposure to nature is associated with improved mental wellbeing
- Research has shown that even a view from a window of trees and greenery can improve recovery of patients in hospital (Ulrich 1984)
- Green is the easiest colour for our eyes to see and some scientists believe it is more calming for us because of that.
Hope and Positivity
During lockdown much has been focused on nature, not only the benefits for us of getting out and spending time in it but on how nature bounced back during the first lockdown. Nature took over the urban spaces humans vacated and the continued rhythms of the seasons, when everything else was upturned, gave us hope. Research first discussed in 2017 continued its resurgence – that simply watching a nature programme or looking at pictures, increases positive emotions and decreases emotions such as anxiety and stress.
In the last week, I have also seen a TV article prompting the benefits of walking, with long-standing research showing its enhanced effect on creative thinking; that a walk in nature is not only calming but also has restorative effects.
It is why our Working Well programme is built around a walk in nature and blended with a facilitated session offering a time to reflect and develop tools and techniques that help continue that restorative benefit. Read more on Working Well and other practical support we offer on the ‘For Organisations’ page.