How can nature benefit my mental health?

Spending time in green space or bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. For example, doing things like growing food or flowers, exercising outdoors or being around animals can have lots of positive effects. It can:

We all have different experiences of nature, and different reasons for wanting to connect with it more. You might find you get something completely different from one activity compared to someone else.

Our pages on ideas to try in nature and getting started give lots of tips on how to bring some benefits from nature into your life, whatever your personal situation.

Nature and mental health problems

Spending time in nature has been found to help with mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. For example, research into ecotherapy (a type of formal treatment which involves doing activities outside in nature) has shown it can help with mild to moderate depression. This might be due to combining regular physical activity and social contact with being outside in nature.

Being outside in natural light can be helpful if you experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that affects people during particular seasons or times of year. And people tell us that getting into nature has helped them with many other types of mental health problems.

Anxieties about climate change can also have a big impact on our wellbeing. If climate change is affecting your mental health, spending time connecting to nature may be helpful. You could also get involved with conservation activities or campaigns to protect the environment.

See our information on helping the environment for suggestions, and have a look at The Wildlife TrustsGroundwork and The Conservation Volunteerswebsites for more tips and ideas.

Jill's story: Ecominds and Wellbeing Comes Naturally

Watch Jill talk about how she has boosted her physical wellbeing and learnt new skills by volunteering at a TCV Green Gym in Regent's Park:

Find out more and download our PDF today

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