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5 Reasons Why Nature is Good For Your Mental Health

Fed up of being nagged to “get some fresh air, it will do you good”? Well, there’s actually some truth to it. Getting out in nature is actually good for your body and mind and that’s why nature is the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week this year.

I ddarllen yr erthygl hon yn Gymraeg, clicia yma.

So what is it about nature that’s actually good for your mental health? Here are 5 reasons to get out and breathe in that fresh air.

Sun and clouds for nature and mental health blog

1. Vitamin D from the sun

Vitamin D is really important to keep your bones, teeth and muscles healthy, but it can also have a big impact on your mood. The sun is the best source of Vitamin D and a lack of it can lower your mood and make you feel depressed.

You can get enough Vitamin D from the sun in the Spring and Summer months but you might have to take supplements in the autumn and winter months. Some people suffer from a disorder called SAD that makes them depressed in the winter months. The NHS says that the best treatment is to get as much natural sunlight as possible, exercising regularly and managing your stress levels.

Don’t forget to slap on the sunscreen if it’s sunny.

Blonde woman with eyes closed inhaling through nose with smile on face

2. Get more oxygen

Most of us know that we need oxygen to breathe and getting fresh air increases the flow of oxygen in our bodies. An increase in oxygen in the blood is good for your lungs and good for your brain.

Oxygen releases a hormone chemical called serotonin. If you have low serotonin levels it can make you feel anxious and depressed. By getting more oxygen into your body you’ll be increasing the serotonin that will help improve your mood and wellbeing. It can also help you get better sleep and improve digestion.

Young woman with earphones on stretching for nature and mental health blog

3. Exercise to feel good

When you exercise your nervous system produces a natural chemical called endorphins into your body. Endorphins are a feel good chemical that will improve your mood and help reduce depression.

You don’t have to be a fitness freak to get some exercise and fresh air. Go for a run if you like but you could go for a walk (and take a picnic with you), have a kick about, ride your bike/scooter/skateboard (or any other wheels you may have!), practice some yoga, play in the park. There are plenty of exercises you can do that don’t have to feel like a chore.

Young man with head on pillow sleeping

4. Sleep better

Exercise and fresh air can encourage you to get better sleep, and this can be really important for your mood. If you don’t get enough sleep you’ll be tired and it can make you irritable and feel down. When you sleep your body actually repairs itself, so the better you sleep, the more refreshed you’ll feel.

Green leaves, grass and butterfly with sun peeking through leaves for nature and mental health blog

5. Green is calming

Some people believe that colours can actually have an effect on your mood in something called colour psychology. Green is a colour that is calming and relaxing.

When you think of nature and the environment you think of green – green grass and green trees. But even if you don’t believe in colours being connected to your mood, being out in nature itself and all the benefits from the four points above will be good for you and your mental health.

Mental health help and information

  • Click here for information about Mental Health Awareness Week with top tips, blogs, videos and research.
  • Mental Health Foundation – Helping people to understand, protect and maintain their mental health. The hosts of Mental Health Awareness Week.
  • Mind Cymru – Providing advice and support to anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They have a list of great ideas to get you out into nature like beachcombing, watching the stars, geocaching and lots more. Check them out here.
  • Meddwl.org – Welsh language mental health support and information and a place to read about other people’s experiences.
  • Papyrus – A national charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide. HopelineUK is their confidential helpline for children and young people under 35 who are having suicidal thoughts or if you’re worried about someone else.
  • Meic – As always, Meic is here for you to talk confidentially every day between 8am and midnight. We can help you get the help that you need. Call free: 080880 23456¬† Text: 84001 or chat to us online.