Thriving Together Well-Being Weekly: Nature

Thriving Together Well-Being Weekly: Nature

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” - Rachel Carson

Tending to our individual and collective well-being during this global health crisis is vital as we experience a daily cascading of health report updates and uncertainty in all dimensions of our lives. For good reason, we’ve been abruptly disconnected from family, friends, loved ones, and colleagues with social distancing mandates for those in our direct orbit. Fortunately, and for now, many of us can go outdoors using discretion and keeping distance from others. Experiencing some form of nature gives us a number of physical and mental well-being benefits. It can be as simple as walking around your block a few times or sitting somewhere outside and being fully attuned to what you’re sensing. Or you can grab that book you’ve been wanting to read and head outside. Our weekly well-being theme of nature includes a practice you can do several times a day, along with information on how being in nature impacts your health and well-being.

Activity: 

15-Minute Mindfulness Silent Walk

  • Plan to take this walk at least once per week
  • No talking
  • You can walk with others (practicing social distancing) but no communicating
  • Notice all your senses – what you're seeing, smelling, experiencing
  • Notice what you're grateful for
  • Stay attuned to your environment and the present moment
  • If your mind begins to wander, bring it back to the present moment. Don't judge yourself – just gently come back to the present moment.

Research

Nature is good for your health and heart. During this at-risk time, it’s important to be proactive in taking care of our health. Being in nature boosts both our health and psychological well-being. Research shows that being in nature two hours per week (walking, sitting on a park bench, etc.) brings benefits for your health and well-being. Here are a few examples of how nature can impact our health:

  • Visiting green spaces may be a simple and affordable way to improve heart health (Time Special Edition, 2019)
  • Nearly 10% of people with high blood pressure could get their hypertension under control by spending 30 minutes or more a week in a park
  • 90 minutes of walking in a natural setting such as a forest or park were less likely to ruminate, which is a hallmark of depression and anxiety (National Academy of Sciences, 2015)
  • Time in nature spurs cancer-fighting cells (Journal of Environmental Health Perspectives, April 2016)

Additional Resources:

Defining a Dose of Nature: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8o7UB3Hn778

Why Nature is Good for Your Mental Health: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSgCo3bvaX0

Stanford Researchers Find Mental Health Prescription: Nature  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTzl_AHCmho