How to do it

Have some “green time”. Go outside. Plan a short walk in your local park or past some houses where there are green front gardens. If you can get out into the countryside, treat yourself to a stroll.

If not then try to find some nature near you; a tree, a patch of grass or even just look up at the sky. Notice the weather, the season, the space you are in.

Tune into your senses; what can you see, hear, feel, taste and smell. And remember to breathe.

If you’re unable to get outside until later, perhaps find a window and take a moment to notice the nature outside (whatever it may be). You might like to find some photos of outdoor places you’ve been, or pictures of nature and landscapes that you love, and take a few moments during your day to look at and enjoy them.

Why it works

We evolved in nature. When we stand under a tree we feel happier and research shows that being in green space is beneficial to our health and wellbeing.

Benefits include lowered blood pressure, reduced blood sugar, improved concentration and memory, boosted the immune system, improved mood, improved pain thresholds and energy levels.

You may well have heard of Shinrin-yoku “forest bathing”, which originated in Japan in the early 1980s. At a similar time, American biologist Edward O. Wilson first introduced the biophilia hypothesis, outlining how humans have an innate and genetically determined affinity with the natural world.

Connecting with nature acts like a reset button for our nervous system.

A recent report has identified that spending at least 2 hours a week (20 minutes a day) in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing. The study concluded that it did not matter how that 120 minutes of weekly nature exposure was achieved – one long chunk or several shorter visits – the benefits were the same.

Additional resources

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