Outdoors for wellbeing #9 – Nature is everywhere

Finding nature wherever we are

Throughout this series we have been focussing on the benefits of nature to our wellbeing. Whether it’s forest bathing or looking after houseplants, interacting with nature not only brings us joy but can make us calmer, more content and improve our mood.

This blog will hopefully show that you don’t need to travel to find nature, it is all around us wherever we are.  It was inspired by a TED talk given by an environmental writer Emma Marris. She proposes that thinking of nature as something that’s untouched by humans is illogical, as we have been interacting with he world around us for thousands of years and in the last 200 years we have changed the air chemistry of the entire atmosphere. Places we think of as “real nature” such as expansive national parks are carefully managed and therefore there is very little “wild” about them.

Looking closer

So with all that in mind, Emma suggests that we define nature as anywhere where life thrives. She gives examples of an abandoned plot of land, un-mowed grass lawn, meadow on an unused bridge.

If we look carefully around us we can find nature all around us – if you look at a patch of moss with a magnifying glass, prepare to be amazed at how different and fascinating it looks from that perspective. If you have time, you could create a small ecosystem in your own home by making a glass jar terrarium and enjoy a lush mini garden whenever you want.

Finally, Emma makes an important point in her talk – we shouldn’t worry about interacting with nature, as “that which is untouched is unloved” and we should love nature and look after it.

Have you come across nature in an unexpected place?

More thoughts on wellbeing and the outdoors

The Permission to Dream peer-support groups in and around Falkirk have been exploring the benefits of getting into nature – in all senses!

Dani and Ania have been chatting to community members and organisations about the exciting ways they’ve been using the outdoors to support their wellbeing. Since Covid-19 began, our local greenspaces have become more important to us. As seeing people outdoors is the safest way to connect in person, the forests and lochs have become our new safe spaces for peer connection, support and empowerment! Then we get multiple benefits: social inclusion, connections with nature, and new wild spaces to relax and feel supported in.

You can read the rest of their outdoors wellbeing blogs here.

Paving stones with grass growing between them

Image by Eugen Visan from Pixabay