How often do you stop to notice and appreciate the natural elements in your environment? The soothing rustle of the wind through the trees, the happy chirp of the bird call, the deep green of the leaves on a plant?
Taking a moment to interact with the world around you is well worth your while. Studies have shown that a good relationship with nature can play a critical role in keeping you mentally and physically healthy. Connecting with nature can help reduce anxiety and stress and improve your mood, as well offering physical benefits like reducing blood pressure, slowing heart rate and decreasing stress hormone production.
Unfortunately, because lifestyles today often revolve around screens and technology, many of us miss important opportunities to engage with the beautiful world around us. In reality, though, it’s actually quite easy to interact with nature if we put our minds to it, even for those of us who live in the middle of a city and work in a high-rise office block.
The trick is to pay attention and make the effort. Watering the office plant (or having a chat to it if you so desire), admiring a tree on a city street and even watching nature documentaries on the TV have been proven to offer enough of a nature dose to make a difference to your emotional wellbeing.
If you are able, a walk in the park can work wonders, particularly if you leave the phone at home and are mindful to absorb what’s going on around you. Think about bringing nature into your home by keeping indoor plants and window boxes or hanging bird seed outside.
Be conscious and mindful. Take time to turn all the screens off, open the window and look outside, watching the wildlife and breathing in the fresh air. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, have your morning coffee on a chair outside and spend some time among the greenery.
For the ultimate dose of nature, try doing outdoors activities on the weekend. The options are endless. You could try hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, even just a stroll around the streets. Or hit the water and try swimming, surfing or kayaking.
However, you choose to connect with the natural world, the most important thing you can do is simply to start noticing it. Wherever we are it’s around us and you’ll find the beauty of nature in even the most surprising places, so to start your relationship, you just need to look.
Have a question? Contact a course adviser today. They are available to answer any study questions you may have to put you on the right career path.