WEEKEND WEB: Tuning in to nature is good for the health
TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE: A monthly column by Rachel Shaw of Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust
There’s been such a prolonged period of grey misty or rainy days recently, the slightest indication of a cloud free sky lifts the spirits.
Seeing the ‘firsts’ of the season has been a real highlight: the first sighting of a butterfly, the first bluebell in flower and the return of the first swallow.
Tuning in to the shift in the season connects us to the natural world and makes us feel good.
But it’s more than just a feeling, research shows that spending time in nature is beneficial to our health and wellbeing.
The Wildlife Trusts plan to kick-start the nation’s nature connection in June with the annual nature challenge 30 Days Wild.
The challenge encourages people to do something to help them notice nature every day for the month of June. Last year; an incredible 250,000 people took part.
Academics at the University of Derby who have monitored the challenge since it began in 2015 have discovered that spending time in nature makes us feel good and that people’s perception of beauty in the natural world is a key ingredient to unlocking the benefits of wellbeing and happiness experienced by participants in the challenge.
Dr Miles Richardson, Director of Psychology, University of Derby explains: “Over the past three years we’ve repeatedly found that taking part in 30 Days Wild improves health, happiness, nature connection and conservation behaviours. Now we’ve discovered that engagement with the beauty of nature is part of that story. Tuning in to the everyday beauty of nature becomes part of a journey which connects us more deeply to the natural world.
“As people’s appreciation of natural beauty increases, so does their happiness. We respond to beauty - it restores us and balances our emotions. This, in turn, encourages people to do more to help wildlife and take action for nature.”
The Wildlife Trusts provide participants with a free pack of goodies to help you plan your wild month.
Go to www.wildlifetrusts.org/30DaysWild to get your free 30 Days Wild pack which includes a wallchart, a poster, an interactive booklet and some stickers to help you go wild. Don’t want to wait until June? Try to get a 15 minute nature fix every day: go outside, walk beneath trees, wiggle your toes between the daisies, close your eyes and listen to the birds singing. Make time to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature.