Get outside!

Psychologists have explored the potential health benefits associated with being more ‘connected’ to nature. These studies (many which are very recent) confirm that there are positive health benefits derived from forging links with the beauty around us. Indeed, humans were much more ‘connected’ in the past. With the advent of the industrialised world and advances in technology we are finding ourselves ‘inside’ and ‘disconnected’ more. Children do not run through fields or climb trees like they used to. I have spoken to children who have never held a shell in their hand, smelt cows’ manure or spied on birds nesting. Instead, they lie on their bellies in their bedrooms not even tasting the food that they eat while watching a screen.

Studies are clear about the positive impact of this connectivity to nature being ‘subjective’. In order words my sense of connection may be different to yours. Our sense of connectivity cannot be directly compared to each other like as if we were taking the same tablet for headaches. Our experiences and relationship with nature is unique to us as individuals. However, a sense of personal relationship with the natural world can have a very positive influence on the quality of our lives.

Two hours a week spent in nature – even if split into short bursts – has been found to give health and wellbeing a significant boost. Dr. White from the University of Exeter Medical School led the study. He has suggested that the sense of tranquility associated with beauty spots may be the key factor at play. Starting your day with a coffee in your garden (when the weather permits), opening the windows more, keep a bird box near a window, placing plants around your home or going outside for lunch may be fostering inner-calmness. We need to get outside more. 

(c) Shane Martin