One of the things that played a significant role in my recovery from my ED was being out in nature. It is hard to explain how it made me feel, but it was almost that my problems didn’t feel as extensive when I was enclosed in such vast and beautiful surroundings. Even though there were days that I didn’t want to leave the house, I would force myself to get out and take a walk on the beach, or head down to a national park on the weekend. Afterwards, I always felt like I was making a small step closer towards recovery.
Once I recovered, I was so interested to find out if there was any scientific research into the effects of nature and healing. I discovered that nature has a significant impact on improving social, psychological, physical, spiritual and emotional well-being. Studies have been conducted on the impact of nature in both natural and virtual worlds, and the research supported that it can reduce stress , increase happiness, enhance cognitive function, assist with healing and increases meaning in life . Combining nature with exercise has an even greater effect with increased self-esteem and mood.
I am very blessed that I live in Sydney and have access to the most amazing beaches and national parks, but this doesn’t make a difference to the effects. Just being exposed more frequently to green spaces will increase well-being. In one study, 71% of people that participated in a daily walk around a public park containing grass, experienced substantial decreases in their depression.
There are so many ways we can connect with nature every day. Here are 10 ideas to get you started.
💖 Go for a lunchtime walk around a local park, or leafy street. Or simply sit on the grass and just be.
💖 Walk barefoot on the sand and listen to the waves. Or walk barefoot on the grass and listen to sounds around you.
💖 Lay on the grass and watch the clouds, or take your book and read.
💖 Go for a nature hunt walk. Be present, and take notice of all the natural things around you that you see.
💖 Go on a bush walk, or for a coastal walk.
💖 Buy plants for your home, or office space.
💖 Start a veggie patch, or herb garden
💖 Build a sandcastle at the beach.
💖 Lay on the grass in a star shape and feel the earth underneath you.
💖 Take a picnic, or a have a coffee down at a park, or local beach.