Five things in nature to lift your mood
As the official charity for the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show, Beyond Blue want to encourage the community to be not only physically healthy, but mentally healthy and getting outside into nature is a great way of starting to plant this seed of positive mental health in your life.
Immersing yourself in nature can help to reduce stress and anxiety, as well as teaching you to be calm and keep things in perspective. As Albert Einstein himself said, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
If you live in a big city, this can be difficult. A stressful job makes things even harder. But finding time to escape the concrete jungle is worth it. Here are five feel-good outdoor activities that will have you saying, “How’s the serenity” in no time.
- Be active. Take a look at your backyard and identify play equipment that could be used to enhance your exercise routine. Bicycles, skipping ropes, basketball hoops and trampolines can all add variety and interest to your regime. Head out for a walk in your local park or bike ride through a leafy track nearby. You can invite a loved one or meet them halfway – walking and talking in the outdoors beats phone conversations and texting any day!
- Lose yourself in words. Write in a journal or enjoy a good book in the fresh air. Perhaps your local library has an outdoor area you can sit in while you mow through a chapter or two. Many people also love writing or reading by the ocean.
- Get your hands dirty in the garden.You don’t have to be an expert in plants or gardening – as with cooking or learning an instrument, everyone starts somewhere. Ask your local florist or a garden-enthusiast for advice on some good plants/flowers to start with and go from there. Nurturing something else into life can encourage you to better look after your own wellbeing.
- Practice mindfulness in the outdoors.Head out to somewhere with a bit of greenery, or down to the coast and work on your mindfulness. Bring your attention to the natural world around you, stay present and let your senses come alive. Listen to the nearby sounds. If you’re by the beach, breathe in and out to the sound of the waves to help shift your focus away from any unhelpful thoughts. You’ll be amazed at how you can feel afterwards. If you struggle to maintain concentration, try using Smiling Mind to help you.
- Play with a furry friend.A dog is a great source of comfort, companionship and motivation to get out and about. If you don’t own a dog, you can watch the dogs play at your local park or pat a cat outside in their favourite sunny spot (if they’ll allow it). Animals relish the chance to be in the outdoors and soak in the fresh air whilst running around – us humans can learn a thing or two!
For more information on how you can support your mental health, check out the Beyond Blue Charity Space during the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show, visit the Beyond Blue Website or call the Beyond Blue Support Service on 1300 22 4636.