Connect with Nature to Improve your Health - AP Nutritional Therapy
Connect with Nature to Improve your Health

Summer has finally arrived in the UK, with longer, brighter days, and rising temperatures. There is no better time to get outside and reconnect with nature, which can help improve both our physical and mental well-being. Here are my top tips for integrating nature into your life:

  1. Be around plants. Simple as that. Go for a walk in a field or forest, or a have a picnic in a park. Simply looking at vegetation (plants, flowers, trees, grass, etc) can be enough to get the benefits.
  2. Garden. Even a few hours of gardening has been shown to reduce depression and anxiety. You don’t need a large garden or allotment – you can use a windowsill or some patio pots, or even join a community garden.
  3. Get dirty. Soil contains a bacteria called Mycobacterium vaccae which can help activate our brains to produce serotonin – our feel good neurotransmitter. With all the sanitiser and anti-bacterial products we use it’s more important than ever to get outside and play in the dirt like we did as kids.
  4. Get some sun. There are many health benefits to getting moderate sun exposure, including an increase in serotonin and endorphins and of course, immune boosting vitamin D. Remember not to burn, and to use non-toxic sunscreen.
  5. Forest bathing. Forest bathing is an ancient Japanese process of relaxation – know in Japan as shinrin yoku. It is a simple method of being calm and quiet amongst the trees, observing nature around you whilst breathing in the scent from the trees. This can lower levels of adrenaline and reduce anxiety and depression. Forest bathing also has been shown to increase our natural killer cell activity, which are cells in our innate immune system which fight off disease.
  6. Get fresh air. Now that we’re allowed to move around the country more freely, get outside somewhere where the air is clean and fresh, free from car exhaust and industrial pollution. Visit the countryside, seaside, or even just a nice big city park and take a walk where the air is cleaner.
  7. Bring nature indoors. Plants have the power to help clean the air in your home. Get rid of the air fresheners, candles, and room sprays which can all contain unhealthy chemicals, and fill your home with greenery instead.  Plants that are thought of as good air cleaners include snake plants, money plants, gerbera daisies, spider plants, aloe vera, and dragon trees.
  8. Ground yourself. Take off your shoes and walk barefoot on the earth or grass. Alternatively, lay on the ground for 10 minutes, relax your body, and breathe slowly.  Grounding can help refocus your attention on the present moment and pull yourself away from thoughts which drive anxiety.

Connecting with nature can improve your health and well-being. Get outside as often as you can to reap the benefits. Enjoy the summer!