Exposure to nature can contribute to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. The stress of an unpleasant environment can cause you to feel anxious, sad, or helpless. This in turn elevates your blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension and suppresses your immune system.
However, nature can help reduce these feelings. This is because we are genetically programmed to find trees, plants, water, and other nature elements engrossing. When we are absorbed by nature scenes, we are distracted from our feelings and this can even decrease pain.
Research shows that people who spend more time in nature report higher levels of health and wellbeing. From boosting self-esteem and improving concentration, to recharging your mind and body, there’s a wide variety of the mental health benefits of nature.
A small walk a day can make a real difference but during treatment and recovery you may not be able to. But the best thing is you don't have to be in nature to enjoy these benefits; viewing scenes of nature can have the same impact.
Check out these tips on how you can bring nature into your home:
- Having plants in the house can have the same impact. But if you do not have the energy to look after a plant, try artificial plants/flowers.
- If you have a garden, allotment or balcony, think about how you can make the most of it. You could try growing flowers, plants, vegetables or, get a bird feeder.
- If planting isn’t your thing, you can also connect to nature through many things. Try painting your favourite landscape, nature documentaries, sound recordings of birds or even stories.
- Try using aromatherapy. Different scents can help with particular side effects from treatment.
- Natural light in the home or hospital room can reduce stress, anxiety, depression and may enhance recovery.
- Adding paintings and photography around the house of landscapes can have the same impact.
- Engage your senses - You don't need to go for a long walk you can simply step outside to enjoy the sounds of the birds. The Japanese call this “forest bathing”, and it’s all about engaging each of your senses, allowing the experience of nature to wash over you. While your senses are being engaged, your mind is allowed to rest, and negative feelings tend to ease.