One of my recent writing assignments was to draft a white paper that examined the benefits of being surrounded by green space and the benefit that has on mental health. I’ve always known that getting into natural settings has been good for mental health, but even I was blown away by the research.
To make a long story short, being in green space can reduce anxiety, alleviate depression, lower one’s heart rate and blood pressure, it can help with insomnia, and it can provide greater focus and elevated mood. In other words, a lot of the things that medication does. Now, I use medication, and it does work. I also love getting into nature, since doing so gets me away from the stressors of life that so often exacerbate my anxiety and/or my depression. There is no right or wrong approach and no right or wrong combination between medication and nature. Nature simply seems to benefit many of the things we are trying to heal with our self-care routines, which is why you would be wise to include nature in your self-care routine.
Even if you live in cities, chances are your city has green space that you can visit, at least once this Coronavirus business is behind us. This is perhaps one of the reasons that Central Park is so popular among New York City attractions.
And if you can’t get into nature right now because of quarantine conditions, there are ASMR recordings online of nature. In fact, Spotify reported that over the last few months more people have been listening to relaxing or meditative recordings, so just join others who are tuning in, closing their eyes, and imagining themselves in a relaxing forest. Now might be among the most important times to start such a practice.
So, I hope all of you are staying healthy, and I hope all of you also find time to get into nature because you might be pleasantly surprised at the benefits of getting into green spaces for your mental health.
P.S. Here is an image from one of my adventures in nature that I always find calming.