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Nature and Your Mental Health

Nature and Your Mental Health

By Connie Brown
Thursday, June 1, 2023

This blog post was written for and originally appeared on the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast’s blog, Gaining Ground.

How much time do you spend outside? Research has shown that time in nature or even time in pockets of green space in urban areas is good for our mental health!

Access to nature has been found to improve sleep, reduce stress, increase happiness, reduce negative emotions, and help promote positive social interactions. This was put to the test during the pandemic. I don’t know about you, but I spent most of my time outside trying to keep my sanity and reconnect with nature.

What do you enjoy doing outside? Still trying to figure it out? Well, keep reading! I put together a list below of ideas for activities in nature that may interest you.

First, get outside! Take a walk in a natural area, slow down, and take the time to smell the flowers.

Grow or pick food. If you don’t have access to open space, you could plant veggies for salad or herbs in pots or a window box. You may have a community garden near you where you could grow food, or find a local farm where you can pick your favorite fruits or vegetables.

Connect with your creative self. Draw, paint, or photograph animals or nature scenes. Is writing more interesting to you? How about journaling in a green space or writing poetry? Let nature inspire you.

Have a picnic in a park or sit in a beautiful garden. Better yet, go exercise. Nothing helps you let go of stress better than some yoga in the park or cycling by a river. Don’t want to go alone? Join a walking club, meet new people, and connect with nature.

Do you like scavenger hunts? Try geocaching. Looking for a more laid-back experience, how about just beachcombing? Visit your coasts and look for interesting things like seashells or sharks’ teeth.

If you enjoy being outside in the evening time, how about stargazing? Just relax, enjoy the cooler evening temps, look up at the sky, and watch the stars glimmer in the night sky. You might even see a shooting star! 

Are you an animal lover? Connect with animals! Watch for wildlife on your walk, hang a bird feeder outside your window, go bird watching, or volunteer with a local organization to do nature surveys or dog walking.

Enjoy nature but don’t necessarily want to be outside? Well, bring nature indoors! Buy flowers or potted plants for your home. Arrange a comfortable place to relax so you can look out and see the beautiful trees, water, or sky.

Now that I have given you some ideas, get outside (or bring the outside in) and find the experiences that work best for you.

Manatee County Audubon Society wants to help you get in touch with nature.

Visit Felts Audubon Preserve at 4600 24th Ave E, Palmetto, FL 34221.

The preserve is open to the public and is open from sunrise to sunset and offers trails and a wonderful bird blind to get up close and personal to the birds that visit our preserve.

You can also join in on the fun at one of our many Field Trips we offer each year. Check out our calendar for more details. Our guides can help you find and identify the birds as they guide you through the many parks and preserves in the area.

Manatee County Audubon Society

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