How Nature Can Improve Your Mental Health & Wellbeing


Our relationship with nature is vital for our mental well-being. It's not just a nice-to-have but a fundamental need that keeps us emotionally, psychologically, and physically healthy.

Nature, in terms of its benefits for our mental health, covers many places. It includes green spaces like parks and forests, and blue spaces like rivers and beaches. Even the trees on city streets, private gardens, and indoor plants are part of it. Surprisingly, watching nature documentaries can also lift our spirits. The best part is that these mental health benefits of nature are available to almost all of us, no matter where we live.

This blog summarizes why our connection with nature is essential for our mental health and highlights that not everyone has equal access to these benefits. It suggests steps to make sure everyone can enjoy them.

1. Absorb early morning sunlight

Soaking in the morning sunlight is like giving your body and mind a gentle hug. When the sun rises, it brings a special kind of light called infrared, and this light does wonders for how you feel. It can help you be less sad, sleep better, and feel less worried. Plus, it helps your body wake up and get moving by reducing a sleep hormone called melatonin.

Having a morning routine with this sunlight can make your day go smoother. It also helps you sleep well at night because the sunlight during the day helps your body make melatonin for later. This way, you'll feel calm and ready for a good night's sleep. Taking in the morning sunshine is like a secret trick to boost your mental health and make your days better. So, remember to catch those early rays – they're like a friendly, natural remedy for your body and mind.

2. Experience different natural environments

Exploring different natural places can make you feel really good. Nature has a special way of making us happy, and each type of place has its own magic. Green places can boost your energy, while the beach or water can calm you down. Being outside has been proven to be good for your health.

Even just looking at a tree from a window can help people get better in hospitals. In Japan, doctors even suggest going for walks in the woods as a kind of therapy, and it's called 'forest bathing.' It's like a doctor's prescription to reduce stress and make you feel better. The NHS is starting to suggest these activities too. Being in nature feels right for humans, and it's like a workout for your mind, keeping it sharp and happy. So, go explore different natural spots – you'll be surprised by how much joy you can find.

3. Bring nature into your own space

Adding a bit of nature to your personal space can be a simple but effective way to lift your spirits. Houseplants are becoming more popular, and many proudly call themselves "plant parents." Looking after these green friends can be very satisfying. Begin by thinking about what you like - whether it's colorful orchids or low-maintenance options like snake plants. Remember, taking care of your mental well-being means choosing what suits you and your surroundings. You can even try out different plants. It's common for people to turn their homes into green, vibrant havens. Watching your leafy companions grow can be a joyful experience, almost like having little nature friends saying, "Thanks for caring for me!"

4. Exercise in the fresh air

Exercising outdoors is like a breath of fresh air for your body and mind. Whether you're a pro or just getting started with fitness, nature is a fantastic place to be active. You don't have to go all out; even a simple walk or some relaxing yoga outside can make you feel great. What's awesome about outdoor exercise is that it can fit your pace. You can make it more challenging or even play team sports for some fun with friends. Being outside reduces stress, and it makes you happier and more energetic thanks to those feel-good endorphins. So, head outside, set your goals, and let nature help you get healthier and happier.

5. Accept nature on its own terms – as something to be enjoyed

Embracing nature on its own terms means going with life's natural flow. Some days, you may lack energy or face unexpected busyness, and that's totally fine. Instead of pushing yourself, try to sync with nature's rhythm. On sunny days, take a leisurely walk and enjoy the beauty if you have time. On rainy days, it's just as sensible to snuggle up under a cozy blanket. Some folks find comfort in lousy weather, and research even shows that the sound of rain can reduce anxiety. Nature communicates with us in its way, so tune in and listen. Your body knows what it needs. Humans have lived alongside nature for a long time, and it's given us intuition. So, savor the simplicity of going with the natural flow and enjoy life's moments as they come.

Go at your own pace

Sometimes, you might have reasons to avoid outdoor activities, especially when stress is in the way. However, research shows that even a little time with nature can reduce anxiety, fear, and other stress-related problems. You can get these benefits by trying activities like yoga, hiking, or taking care of plants—pick what suits you, and you'll be ready to do more. You may not seize every chance, but nature always offers another one. Trust yourself, go with what feels right, and remember that nature keeps on giving.

Nature is everywhere, but high quality nature isn’t available equally

While nature is all around us, the places in nature that are best for our mental health aren't equally available to everyone. It's not just about how far you live from a great nature spot.

Living close to these spots does matter, especially for those in deprived communities. Our research showed that people in cities are less likely to connect with nature as much as they'd like, and the same goes for people without gardens. Younger adults face their own barriers to getting close to nature.

If you have a disability or health condition, it's even tougher when natural spaces aren't designed with accessibility in mind. Safety is another concern, especially for women, younger people, disabled individuals, and people from ethnic minorities. For them, nature might feel inaccessible or less enjoyable due to worries about physical harm, harassment, hate crime, or discrimination.

This inequality has a double impact. These groups not only miss out on the mental health benefits of connecting with nature because of these access issues but are also more at risk of mental health problems.

But there are some good ideas to make things more equal. Places like well-designed urban parks can help more people enjoy and connect with nature. Planting flowers and trees in our neighborhoods or creating green areas when new buildings go up can also make a difference. These are called "green corridors."


The main idea from this blog is that instead of encouraging people to visit far-off natural places, we should help them connect with nature close to their homes through easy activities. By paying attention to everyday nature, we can boost mental health and build a better bond with the natural world.

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