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Mental Health Awareness Week

10 – 16 May

Barefoot on the grass, slowing walking forward. You open your arms to the sides looking up and feel the warm light on your face. The light breeze in the air with the birds flying above all of this giving you a calming sensation that overflows you. After a very busy week behind you, this is all you have been waiting for.

Some of us do not know or might not understand how important nature is in our lives. Not only for us to enjoy the beautiful view and the wonderful colours, but also for our health and wellbeing. According to Paul de Zylva, “dramatic landscapes fire our imagination, fill our hearts and put our lives into perspective”.

German physician Paracelsus said in the 16th century “The art of healing comes from nature, not from the physician.” With a lot of research and studies done by scholars and practitioners, we know that nature can soothe mental health conditions and reduce stress. Nature has been a healing tool for all ages and can benefit each in its own way. The impact of nature is greater than ever. Looking at some of the studies that have been done on the connection of nature and health according to the article on Texan by Nature (click on the link to read the full study).

Finding #2: Spending 20 to 30 minutes a day in nature can significantly reduce stress levels by producing a drop in cortisol (“the stress hormone”) by nearly 2 times greater than in people who spend no time in nature. Learn more: Urban Nature Experiences Result in Lowered Levels of the Stress Hormone, Cortisol (Research by MaryCarol Hunter)

Finding #3: Nature can also potentially reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing stress levels. Learn more: Signs of Stress in the Brain May Signal Future Heart Trouble (Research by Ahmed Tawakol, et al)

Finding #4: Compared to urban experience, nature experience leads to significant decreases in anxiety and improvement in mental health. Learn more: