Nature has long been celebrated for its ability to heal the mind, body and spirit. Yet, with 70% of the population projected to live in urban areas by 2050, preserving a connection to nature can be challenging. While urbanization has many benefits, it also coincides with an overall decline in mental well-being. At the Eminence Certified Organic Farm, we believe in the power of nature to improve mental health and wellness. Here is a look at how nature benefits mental health, plus our tips for rekindling your relationship with the great outdoors.
3 Ways Nature Improves Mental Health & Wellness:
City dwellers display an intense brain response to stress and impaired ability to cope with stressful situations. This is magnified by the high-stress nature of the urban landscape: While this type of environment signals the brain to produce cortisol (the “stress hormone”), low-stress environments signal it to release serotonin (a “happy hormone”). A 2003 Swedish study revealed that the more often urban residents visited open green spaces, the less often they reported stress-related illnesses. Tranquil environments like the Eminence Certified Organic Farm help relieve stress and encourage relaxation, thereby improving overall health and wellness.
2. Improves Memory & Attention
High-stress environments can also contribute to mental fatigue. The endless stimuli we encounter in city life can drain the brain’s processing power, impairing cognitive functions like memory, attention and concentration. One way to counteract mental exhaustion is to expose the brain to restorative environments like the great outdoors. A University of Michigan Study confirms that engaging with nature for just an hour a day can improve memory and attention span.
3. Increases Happiness
Spending time in nature doesn’t only make you healthier; it can also make you happier. A UK study showed that, by challenging participants to spend time outside for 30 consecutive days, there was a significant increase in their health and happiness. Having them interact with nature revealed a strong correlation with improved life satisfaction and lower anxiety, even months after the study was completed.
4 Ways to Experience Nature:
Nature meditation reaps a multitude of rewards, including reduced stress, better emotional health and improved concentration – even when practiced for only a few minutes a day. Yoga Journal recommends meditating in a city garden or park to incorporate nature into your practice. If physical space isn’t readily available, you can enjoy the benefits of meditation using images of the natural world, like the serene setting of the Eminence Organics lily pond. You can even meditate to the sound of nature: From birdsong to the buzzing of bees, nature sounds “physically alter the connections in our brains, reducing our body’s natural fight-or-flight instinct” (Health).
2. Take A Walk Outdoors
There’s truth to the phrase “walk it off.” Walking not only relieves stress and boosts energy levels but also has the potential to improve memory and attention by up to 20 percent. In addition to releasing feel-good endorphins, walking in nature eases your brain into a meditative state, allowing you to more easily shrug off the stress of the day. Swap the break room for your favorite city park or garden to experience the healing power of the earth.
Essential oils derived from flowers and plants have been used for centuries to heal the body and promote mental wellbeing. The most popular is lavender, which is particularly effective in minimizing feelings of stress and anxiety. Apply 2-4 drops of lavender oil to an aromatic diffuser to add a peaceful and relaxing aroma to your living space. Or for a quick fix, rub 2-3 drops into your cupped palms and inhale slowly to immediately calm the mind and body.
4. Visit The Eminence Certified Organic Farm
Why not immerse yourself in nature by taking a tour of the Eminence Certified Organic Farm? Featuring hundreds of certified organic plants and beautiful, traditional Hungarian farm buildings, our award-winning farm is the perfect place to reconnect with Mother Earth. Spend the day following the farm’s peaceful paths, exploring our fruit, herb and vegetable plant varietals and relaxing with a picnic lunch in one of many open, grassy spaces.
At the Eminence Certified Organic Farm, we harness the power of nature to grow organic ingredients that enhance your natural beauty and encourage lifelong health and wellness. How does nature contribute to your mental health and well-being? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below and join the conversation on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | LinkedIn | YouTube | G+.