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Being in nature helps Mental health

I took the mental health first aid to help people with the work that I like to do through Project action London. It has been useful in my work with charities and other roles I do. At some stage in our life's something will happen, and it can hit us hard. That's when we need help and support this maybe for a short period or longer. I have found at stressful times in my life i reach out to nature. I love being out seeing all the beauty around us. I remember helping a person a few years ago who went out daily to take pictures of trees but always posted a negative thought about their feelings on that day. I said how beautiful the pictures were and suggested rather than posting a negative comment why not give a positive story of why they had been inspired to take that picture. I saw them a few weeks later and they said they had tried this and yes it was lifting their mood. It’s not easy when you feel low and the last few years no one has escaped feelings of worry, concern and 'what does our future hold?'. Media tend to only offer us doom and gloom everyone in parliament fighting and arguing is it no wonder many feel they are suffering mental health issues. Try turning off the news, play some happy music and get out and in touch with our wonderful nature, which now being Autumn is spectacular. We do need to reach out and try to manage a problem or they never go away unless we do something about it. Decathlon have written a great piece on this which I have attached. Also, some pictures I took at the weekend in between the down pours. Never feel alone reach out for help...

The Mental Health Benefits of Being Outdoors by decathlon- Great advise Venture into the outdoors this January and find out how a regular trip outside can boost your mental and physical wellbeing. In association with Red January. According to the NHS, adults between the ages of 19 - 64 years should exercise at least 150 minutes a week, but this is easier said than done! With the 9-5 grind and plenty of distractions to deal with (especially online!), it’s becoming more tempting to skip proper breaks that would otherwise help alleviate stress and help you get your day’s worth of recommended exercise. Find out why being outdoors is good for mental health. How does Outdoor Exercise Benefit your Mental Health? Working out outdoors, also known as ‘green exercise’, be that be for 30 minutes or 3 hours makes all the difference to your physical and mental wellbeing. In this article, we’ll look at the many mental health benefits you have to gain by spending a little extra time outdoors, along with a few useful tips to help you integrate outdoor exercise into your daily life. 1) It makes you Happy A workout outdoors releases the floodgates of endorphins. Exercise is great for releasing neurotransmitters known as endorphins, which relieve the body of stress and pain. This feeling is often known as a ‘runner's high’. Exercising outside, preferably in the cold, makes for the perfect recipe to release more endorphins as the body expends more energy to fight the cold. When you work out outdoors, you receive an increased supply of blood circulation around the brain, which can also contribute to improved self-esteem and a greater all-around sense of wellbeing. 2) Improves your Quality of Sleep Something as simple as going for a walk during the late afternoon or early evening has been proven to help you relax and improve the quality of sleep. Not only does a good night’s sleep improve your brain function, mood and well-being, but it also boosts your immune and hormonal systems. If your main goal is to improve your quality of sleep, it’s also a good idea to keep your dinner light and finish your dinner a couple of hours before you head to bed. 3) Combats Seasonal Affective Disorder Exercise outdoors increases your Vitamin D consumption. During the darker winter months, coming across sunlight becomes more difficult. Everyday mental health struggles are often in part linked to the lack of sunlight, which during the winter is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. This can lead to a lowering of serotonin levels, which can have a negative impact on your appetite and mood. A high-intensity exercise routine outdoors dramatically increases your Vitamin D intake and will raise your serotonin levels. It doesn’t need to be an intensive training session for you to feel the effects – just a walk in the park for 15-30 minutes during daylight hours can do wonders for brightening up your day. 4) Offers Stress-release Nature sounds, whether it be a rainforest or waterfall, can help lower your blood pressure and cortisol levels (the stress-inducing hormone), as well as curb your fight or flight response. By simply committing a minimum of 30 minutes a day to an outdoor activity, you can have a huge positive impact on your overall stress levels. Multi-tasking is a part of your every day life, whether it’s in your 9-5 or when maintaining a household and running errands - muti-tasking can add to your mental fatigue. This means that you’re over-burdening your short-term memory and dealing with simple tasks will often start to feel more stressful. There’s only so much distraction your prefrontal cortex can take before it needs a break! Not only is a pastime like hiking a great stress relief, but it’s also been proven to be able to help you recharge cerebrally and improve your memory. Research also shows that longer periods of time spent in nature can relax the brain and improve problem-solving skills by up to 50%. 5) A Social Activity The great thing about outdoorsy activities is that you can do it alone or with a friend or two, depending on your mood! Not only does time spent walking outside reduce stress, but it can also be a place for you to meet people, create and maintain social relationships. Being able to talk to someone about your daily worries and anxieties whilst taking a walk in nature will encourage prosocial behaviour. If you want to boost your social skills, listening skills or even simply offer a sympathetic ear – a walk is a great place to start. 6)Gets your Creative Juices Flowing Feel like you’ve been struggling to let your imagination flow recently?It’s believed that famous creatives such as Charles Dickens and Ernest Hemingway were great fans of long walks, as it allowed these wordsmiths the time to refresh and reset their minds. The change of scenery is said to have worked wonders when writers have run into writer’s block or on the search for inspiration. Research also shows that time spent outdoors offers great restorative properties, helping the brain become better adept at creation. Can’t think of what to do with your time outside? Below are some options to get you started. Outdoor Activities for Mental Health Go for a walk. Walking is a great place to start if you’re considering making a healthy change in lifestyle while simultaneously embracing the great outdoors. Even if you’ve got a busy schedule, try incorporating a walk into your everyday routine, whether that’s part of your commute, a dog walk or just catching up with a friend. Check out our guide on how to Get Back to Sports: With Active Walking! Ride your bike. Cycling doesn’t solely have to be seen as a means of transportation as it can do a lot for you in terms of helping you mentally unwind. It is known to promote rhythmic breathing and leg movements and therefore a great meditative activity. Find out more about the health benefits of riding your bike with our article on Cycling as a Source of Well-Being. If you’re looking to find a new cycle route, get the step-by-step guide on How to Plan Your Cycling Route here. Get Hiking. This one may require a little more planning than the previous two activities, but there aren’t many better ways to leave your day-to-day stresses behind than opting for a nature hike. Go for an easy, level hike that doesn’t last more than two hours if you’re starting out and haven’t been too active, you’ll develop a passion for hiking before you know it! Thinking about where to head for your next trip? Check out our article on the best one day hikes in the UK. Exercise. If you’re looking to bring your indoor routine outdoors, read up on Which Fitness Exercise Should You Do Outdoors.

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