Being more disconnected from nature than ever before we are compromising our own long-term health and wellbeing and that of the planet.
As a species, we have spent the vast majority of our time on the planet, outside. Our brains and bodies have evolved alongside nature and as a result, we are deeply connected to nature.
And yet, we are not designed to cope well with our new habits and habitats, such as remaining inside for 90% of our days and spending a long time on screens. Often, we remain unaware of their impact on us and that’s where nature can help us remember.
Many of us might spend time hiking, walking the dog and exercising in nature, but rarely do we spend time truly connecting with our environment. and research has shown that the sense of wellbeing achieved when we are in nature is primarily driven by the connection with nature and not all down to the actual length of time spent ‘doing something’ in nature.
With the prevalence of mental ill-health on the rise, the prescriptions of anti-depressants at an all-time high, presenteeism and absenteeism being felt in increasing levels across the corporate world, costing the economy millions and the ever-increasing recognition of the importance of nature and place as a determinate of individual mental health.
Forward-thinking organisations are now looking to provide greater access to nature-based interventions as part of a dynamic solution for health and wellbeing within the workplace and within society at large to be part of a dynamic solution for mental health care.
One of the biggest challenges for many of us is slowing down enough to fully immerse ourselves in nature. We are experts at living life at full pace and the thought of deceleration is enough to make many of us feel uneasy.
That’s why being led by a nature connection guide really helps ease this transition so we can gradually adjust our state of being and in this transition, we are aiding our nervous system to move from fight-or-fight to the rest-and-digest mode, which allows for mental and physical restoration and healing, ultimately offering us more clarify, focus, creativity, productivity, and overall physical and mental wellbeing.
The Nature connection for wellbeing course outlined below can be adapted to fit a wide range of situations in corporate or public settings. Requiring minimal resources to run this programme yet able to deliver a truly positive impact in people’s lives. Helping with social as well as mental and physical wellbeing, connecting people and communities together as well as nature around them. Importantly, the design enables its impact to be quantified, offering a return on investment both financially but importantly qualitatively too with real-life case studies of positive change.
Collaboration with Natural Edge Coaching and Dacorum Borough Council
Participants living with mild to moderate mental health conditions within the Borough of Dacorum were enrolled into the programme and were required to attend weekly, two-hour, guided nature connection experiences within a local city park.
A certified nature connection guide led the weekly sessions and in addition, wellbeing scores, using the Short Warwick Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (SWEMWBS) were collected at Week 0, Week 6 and Week 10 as well as some further qualitative data.
This Nature Connection for Wellbeing programme delivered meaningful positive trends on each of the pre-determined outcomes relating to the participants’ emotional wellbeing, levels of resilience, reduction in isolation and increased social networks, all of which contribute to an overall increase in wellbeing.
This programme was shortlisted as a finalist in the 2022 Social Prescribing awards for best nature-based social prescribing programme.
If you are interested to learn how you might use a wellbeing programme similar to this for your corporation then please do not hesitate to get in touch so we can explore together.