Nature is an important need for many and vital in keeping us emotionally, psychologically and physically healthy.

Our bond with nature greatly influences our mental wellbeing, shaping how we perceive, reflect upon, and cherish our environment. This connection is key to nurturing positive mental health and easing distress. The benefits of nature embrace a wide array of experiences. They stretch from familiar green spaces like parks and forests to inviting blue spaces such as rivers, beaches, and canals. Even in bustling urban areas, the presence of trees along streets, cozy private gardens, roadside greenery, and indoor plants or window boxes contributes to this connection.

Did you know… even simple pleasures like watching nature documentaries can uplift our mental health.

What positive effects can nature have?

  • improve your mood
  • reduce feelings of stress or anger
  • help you take time out and feel more relaxed
  • improve physical health
  • be more active
  • help you meet and get to know new people
  • connect to your community
  • reduce loneliness
  • keep you in the present moment
  • allow you to feel connected to the environment

(amongst many others!)

People with good nature ‘connectedness’ tend to be happier

‘Fresh air and exercise’ has long been recommended as a way for many to feel better, physically and mentally. Now evidence shows us that the quality of our relationship with nature is part of the reason for its positive impact on our wellbeing.

Researchers use the term ‘connectedness’ to describe the ideal relationship. ‘Connectedness’ refers to the way we relate to nature and experience nature. A strong connection with nature means feeling a close relationship or an emotional attachment to our natural surroundings.

Research shows that people who are more connected with nature are usually happier in life and more likely to report feeling their lives are worthwhile.

(Taken from Mental Health Foundation Nature Research Report 2021)

You don’t have to go far to enjoy nature!

When you think about nature, it’s easy to picture the countryside, expansive open landscapes, and perhaps paying £20 for a visit to a National Trust landmark. While such outings can be delightful, they’re not feasible for everyone. But fret not, because nature surrounds us wherever we are!

Central to our understanding of nature is our individual encounter with it—our unique perceptions and interactions with anything from the natural realm. This could include listening to birds chirping outside our window, nurturing herbs in our kitchen, browsing through nature photos, lounging in the backyard, visiting the local park, experiencing the weather firsthand, or observing the sun’s journey across the sky.

Maybe there’s something you haven’t tried yet?

We aim not to bore you with the obvious or dwell on things you’re already familiar with. However, there might be a few ideas here that haven’t crossed your mind or that you haven’t yet explored. In our Fundamental Wellbeing training, we’ve learned not to presume prior knowledge. If you come across something new on this list, then we’ve achieved our goal!

  • Notice the small details: Take time to appreciate the intricate beauty of nature, such as the patterns on leaves or the colors of flowers.
  • Mindful walking: Practice mindfulness while walking in nature, focusing on each step and being fully present in the moment.
  • Wildlife spotting: Spend time observing wildlife in their natural habitat, whether it’s birds, insects, or other creatures.
  • Get creative: Use natural materials like leaves, sticks, and stones to create art or crafts.
  • Connect with the elements: Feel the wind on your face, listen to the sounds of water, and bask in the warmth of the sun.
  • Grow your own: Start a small garden or grow herbs on your windowsill to connect with the process of nurturing and growth.
  • Practice gratitude: Take a moment to reflect on the beauty and wonder of nature and express gratitude for the natural world.

Ready to dive in or take a further step forward?

Get started with some simple steps:

  1. Start small: Don’t feel pressured to embark on grand adventures right away. Even a short stroll in the park or spending a few minutes in your backyard can do wonders.
  2. Make it regular: Try to incorporate nature into your daily routine, whether it’s taking a morning walk or eating lunch outside.
  3. Embrace the weather: Don’t let a little rain or cold weather deter you. Dress appropriately and enjoy the invigorating elements.
  4. Mix it up: Explore different natural environments, from woodlands to beaches, to keep things interesting.
  5. Be present: Practice mindfulness while in nature, focusing on your senses and the beauty around you.
  6. Share the experience: Invite friends or family to join you for a nature outing and enjoy each other’s company.


Remember, nature is all around us, waiting to be explored. So, next time you step outside take a moment to appreciate what you can see, hear, smell, and touch in your surroundings.


Why are we talking about nature for mental health?

Get moving in nature!

Since 2001 the Mental Health Foundation has run an awareness week every May to highlight a specific theme for mental health. The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2024 is ‘Movement’ which will run from Monday 13th May to Sunday 19th May 2024. 

Need some advice?

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