The Sun God Ra is flexing his limbs in my part of the world this morning, coursing rays of love and light all over this land. I rose at dawn to see pink clouds smeared across the sky and could almost hear the dew-topped grass, and all the tiny creatures contained therein, trembling in anticipation of another day on Earth. I was surprised by the main story on the Scottish news today! Read on to find out more.
Read all about it:
The news headline in Scotland this morning was that GPs (family doctors) in Shetland in the north of the country were to be given the option of writing nature-based prescriptions to their patients. So, for example, instead of being prescribed anti-depressants, patients may be prescribed: taking a walk in a forest; picking up litter on a beach; birdwatching; talking to horses and so on.
Are they quackers?
This idea is not as quacky/wacky as it may at first appear. For isn’t it true that many of us have become detached from the natural world – and from each other? This can be especially damaging for young children. Previous research has revealed that socially isolated children tend to have lower subsequent educational attainment, be part of a less advantaged social class in adulthood, and are more likely to be psychologically distressed in adulthood (Lacey, Kumari & Bartley, 2014). And, social isolation in adults is recognised as the cause of much of the anxiety, depression and loneliness which affects so many people today.
The benefits of nature prescriptions:
Here are 5 ways in which immersion in the natural world can help physical, mental and emotional health, by:
- improving your mood by focusing on external stimuli, not your inner thoughts;
- providing opportunities for social interaction, and therefore improved mental health;
- recognising the beauty in the natural world which can lead to an increased gratitude for all the blessings in your life
- possible lowering of blood pressure and anxiety by eg. listening to nature sounds, such as the birds singing;
- increasing compassion for flora and fauna. Caring for the natural world provides a sense of purpose and increased self-worth.
It’s over to you:
I hope you will find one or more of these suggestions useful in your life. Focusing on external stimuli certainly helps me as a means of distraction from my own pain and worries. It stops the negative self talk in the short-term, and increases love and compassion for others in the longer-term! And I often express gratitude when I’m out walking in the field opposite my home: “Thank you for these legs which transport me where I want to go. Thank you for my eyes so that I can see the beauty of this world. Thank you for my healthy heart and lungs that enable me to walk without pain.” And so on. You get the idea.
Have a great weekend. Try and get out in nature. It’s so good for you. Much love, Anita.😀🌳🍂