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Link between time spent in nature and positive mental wellbeing

Link between time spent in nature and positive mental wellbeing

Link between time spent in nature and positive mental wellbeing

Survey shows strong link between time spent in nature and positive mental wellbeing.

Survey findings released by the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand (MHF) reveal the positive impact spending time in nature has on mental health. Of those Kiwis surveyed following last year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, 95% said that spending time in nature during the week made them feel good and 75% said they intended to spend more regular time in nature.

“We all have mental health,” MHF chief executive Shaun Robinson says. “It’s something we all need to take good care of, every day.”

“We know connecting with nature makes us feel good, and every little bit helps us find balance, build resilience and boost mental wellbeing.”

Research has shown that spending time in nature lifts people’s moods, decreases feelings of depression and anxiety, improves concentration, buffers against stress, makes lives meaningful, speeds recovery from tough times and reduces health inequalities related to poverty.

“We never know what life challenges lie around the corner, but if we invest in our mental health we are much better equipped to handle tough times and can prevent mental health issues.”

5 ways to mental wellbeing

Nearly 50% of New Zealanders will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime, and depression is set to overcome heart diseases as the biggest global health burden by 2020.

The MHF has woven together the Five Ways to Wellbeing with the nights of the Maramataka/Māori lunar calendar to maximise energy with the natural world and boost wellbeing, they include:

  • Connect
  • Give
  • Take notice
  • Keep learning
  • Be active

“We want people to experience the benefits of being in nature, notice the good feelings and want to repeat these good things as part of their daily lives,” Mr Robinson says.

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