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Last week was Mental Health Awareness week 2021. In an attempt to raise awareness for the different types of mental health struggles that people have, how we can support loved ones going through mental health issues, or how to help yourself if you are going through a tricky time - I wrote a series of posts & stories on my Instagram page. Something that I spent much time researching, and have preached as a great practice for a while, is the power of nature when it comes to healing.

What I didn't realise, was that it actually has a name and there is a lot of research being done around it, which is brilliant.

Ecotherapy (or nature therapy) focuses on the link between the environment and our well-being. Research suggests that it may be helpful for resilience, PTSD, nervous system recovery and general mental well-being. Ecotherapy is an umbrella term for nature-based methods of physical and psychological healing and it’s approach rests on the idea that people have a deep connection to their environment and to the earth itself.

Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings.

Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it also contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.

How can you use natures healing powers and benefit from it yourself?

- spend more time outdoors (work out in the fresh air, eat your lunch on your front door step, do your meditation on the grass, read your book in the sun, walk to work etc.)

- bring nature into your home with plants, flowers and natural materials

- Immerse yourself in nature through books, photography, art, film and magazines when you can’t get outside

- get a pet

- schedule more outdoor activities

With mental health services overwhelmed and the fact that it seems that we can help ourselves keep a healthy mind through exposing ourself to nature - let’s encourage each other to be aware of the benefits of eco therapy and get out into the fresh air more.

The good news here, is that although mental health is common and incredibly tough, there is a simple solution to help it, that’s readily available to all of us…and its free!

It can take as little as 5 minutes to feel better once you get out into the fresh air, so next time you're meeting someone for coffee why not think about getting one to go and strolling in the park while you catch-up?

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