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  • Writer's pictureClaire Hadfield

7 Positives of being Outdoors in Nature on our Mental Health and Wellbeing by a Therapist

Image shows a river with stepping stones across it. The river is in a beautiful green forest in Cannock Chase, Staffordshire

Research has shown that different parts of our brain activate when we are in nature and that we actually experience positive physical changes. Being outdoors in nature has a profoundly positive effect on our mental health and wellbeing too. You don’t have to be in the middle of nowhere to experience this – a park or green area, even for a few minutes in a hectic day can make all the difference.

For me, hanging out in the great outdoors benefits us in lots of different ways and I wanted to explore and share some of those with you.

1) When you are stressed, putting on your shoes and taking those first steps feels like a huge task. It is empowering to know that you have made an active choice to improve your wellbeing.

2) You can challenge yourself – whether this is a 5-minute walk around the block or climbing the highest hill, you can set a goal and feel that achievement.

3) Being outdoors can make you feel a part of something bigger and in turn may help you see things from a different perspective.

4) When you are outside and doing ‘nothing’ your creativity opens up – it might simply be that you are thinking of a game to play or how to get to a certain landmark – but your creative juices are flowing.

5) Attention shifts to the outer experience. Things, like navigating, keeping hydrated and fueled, or even staying warm, become the focus. This makes it difficult to dwell on the negatives.

6) No day outdoors is the same – there are always unexpected surprises and moments of sheer wonder to discover. This brings the opportunity to be mindful and present in the moment.

7) Even rainy days or surprise thunderstorms bring the benefits. Not only is it a way to experience the outdoors in a new and different way (be it sounds, smells, or sights), but you also have immense comfort to be found in returning to a warm house and cozying up on the sofa with a blanket and hot drink (basically it heightens your hygge experience!!!).

Let us know what your outdoor time looks like this week :-)

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