Yesterday, my husband, daughter and I went on a 3 hour walk in the hills around Littleborough where we live.
My last post, ‘Naturally Speaking’, was about the science behind why nature makes us feel better, both mentally and physically.
Here, in these photographs, you can actually SEE why it has such a huge impact on us. There’s something about all the blue and the green that is calming and serene. You can almost feel the breeze on your face, the sun on your skin, the crunch of the grass beneath your feet, the birds singing in the trees.
I don’t know about you, but right now, just looking at these pictures makes me feel happy!
Yesterday I took my daughter for a chilly but beautiful walk in Tandle Hill Country Park in Oldham. It was just what we needed after being cooped up earlier in the day. We both felt brilliant.
For those who love nature, it will be no surprise to learn that studies have found nature-based therapy dramatically improves mental wellbeing, so if you regularly feel under par, get yourself out there into nature more often. Many of us live in urban areas and rarely see a forest, mountain or waterfall, and it’s having detrimental effects on our health. Giving yourself a hefty dose of vitamin “green” has potent effects on:
how our cells function
our brain and nervous system
It’s even been found that post-surgical patients have improved recovery if exposed to a natural scene from the window of their room.
As for forest walking, studies find it has beneficial effects on:
heart and lung health
immunity and inflammation
blood sugar balance
So even though it may be cold, drag yourself away from that screen.
My younger daughter, who sometimes suffers with anxieties (as do we all from time-to-time) has discovered mindfulness as a way to calm her mind. It’s not the first time lately I’ve caught her lying on the rug in front of the fire, listening to a guided meditation on her laptop. She also has a favourite CD – ‘Rays of Calm’ by Christiane Kerr – that she listens to every night. It’s a series of visualisations that gently guide you into sleep.
The benefits of meditation are multiple:
– reduction of stress/anxiety, and even possibly depression.
– helps to improve self-image and promotes positivity.
– aids in developing a stronger understanding of yourself.
– helps improve memory and concentration, and may reduce age-related memory loss.
– aids with pain management by diminishing the perception of pain in the brain.
– may decrease blood pressure in older participants.
– increases speed of going to sleep and staying asleep.
Making meditation part of your day has so many benefits, we should all give it a go. It only takes a few minutes, and anyway, who says you don’t deserve some time to yourself, just to sit and be?
As for my daughter, judging by her very heavy breathing, it seems that meditation for the purpose of sleep improvement is definitely working, not just at night but at ANY time of the day!!