If your mental health is struggling, there are many things you can try to get on the road to recovery. Medication, time off work, or therapy can all help you in different ways, but there’s another natural method you might not have heard of. Here’s how spending time in nature can prove to be a wonderful natural remedy for your mental health and help you to feel much more like yourself in the long run.
What is a nature prescription?
A nature prescription is where you regularly dedicate time out of your week to spending time in nature. Whether it’s walking around your local forest, volunteering at a local nature reserve or ticking off natural hotspots around your country, the idea is to just spend time in nature. It’s an alternative natural method that is already being used in many countries around the world, such as the UK, Canada and Japan. Your doctor works with you to guide you on what is best for you, and can often help with ideas to help you get started.
What are the benefits?
There have been many studies that report the benefits efforts of spending time in nature. In 2019, Nature Journal published a study concluding that spending 2 hours a week in nature is associated with good health and well-being. Participants in the study who spent more time in nature were significantly more likely to report good health or high well-being.
Nature prescriptions are not a new idea, but it certainly seems to be growing in popularity. PaRx, a Canadian initiative driven by healthcare professionals, is an organization devoted to promoting the benefits of nature prescriptions. They offer helpful information, guides and tips on how to spend more time in nature, stating: “Backed by hundreds of studies over several decades, research suggests that connecting to nature is one of the best things you can do to improve your health.”
Where should I start?
If you feel like you need guidance, a nature prescription might be something that your local health care provider can help you with. Why not give them a call and find out? Or if you have some natural areas nearby, such as a park, woods, or a lake, why not start visiting it on a regular basis? You could look online for guides on things to do in nature, such as building birdhouses or volunteering to help maintain a nature reserve.
It’s important to remember that nature prescriptions aren’t a quick fix for all ailments. There are many remedies for mental health struggles and every person’s situation is different. However, nature prescriptions can be a great option to try to see if it helps you. If you’re not convinced yet, why not give it a go and see how you feel?
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Photo: Jeffery Workman Via UnSplash