It’s Mental Health Awareness Week 2021!
The Mental Health Awareness Week is a yearly event to remind us to focus on achieving good mental health. This year the theme is Nature and Environment hence, we would look at how nature can help our mental health.
Nature is any environment in which we can use our senses to experience the natural world. This could include the sky, a garden, rivers, wildlife. It can also be natural that you interact within or from your home e.g., hearing the birds chirp, observing the trees and flowers, watching clouds, etc.
Nature is known to be an effective way of protecting our wellbeing and achieving better mental health. What you see, hear and experience influences your mind and body. Being in nature or viewing scenes of nature can help regulate emotions. It can reduce anxiety, fear, and stress. Research shows that exposure to nature contributes to our physical wellbeing and time in nature can help our moods and our attention span.
Recently, Finland was ranked 1st in the World Happiness Report, and many Finns credits it to their connection with nature and the outdoors with over 90% of Finland covered in either forest or water. Also, during lockdowns where the human connection was limited, millions of people turned to nature and it helped. Research from Mental Health Foundation showed that taking a walk was a top coping strategy and being in green spaces was vital for mental health.
We encourage you to leverage the gift of nature to boost your mental health, connect with nature, and care for your mental health.
There are tons of things we can do to experience nature but remember to be patient with yourself and do something you enjoy. Here are some suggestions we hope you can try;
- Take a walk.
- Look at the sky, watch the clouds float by.
- Observe gardens, watch trees dance to the tune of the wind.
- Grow a plant, water plants, look at flowers.
- Watch the sunset.
- Smell petrichor.
- Exercise outdoors or with an outdoor view.
- Visit a zoo, beach, waterfall, park, etc.
- Watch short and calming videos of nature.
- Take pictures or videos of nature.
Nature is all around us, it can help support mental health. Use it, tell someone about it and help preserve it (reduce, reuse, recycle).
Remember that you matter and your mental health is a priority. Mental Care Foundation is committed to helping you live your best life mentally; we are here for you!
Lastly, please remember to stay safe as you connect with nature.
Written by: Ayomide Odunlami
Edited by: MCF Editorial Team