Wilder Wellbeing & Mental Health

A canopy shot taken at Gamlingay Woods

Nature, health & wellbeing

...just five minutes spent in nature can improve people’s sense of self-esteem and mood.
J Barton and J Pretty, Environmental Science and Technology, 2010

We've long felt the benefits to mind and body of walking through beautiful wildflower meadows, enjoying the sights and sounds of a local woodland and just generally getting outside in nature. Now science is showing how nature can help reduce stress, fatigue, anxiety and depression. It can also boost our immune system health. Find out how you can connect with wildlife, get involved with the Wildlife Trust BCN and learn about the science that is backing up our appreciation for nature.

Child Mental Health Awareness Week 2022

Child Mental Health Awareness Week (7-13 February 2022)

Children's Mental Health Week is taking place on 7-13 February 2022 under the theme Growing Together.

Research has shown that regular contact with nature improves young people’s self-esteem and confidence, while spending time outside makes children happier and healthier. Make time outdoors and connecting with nature part of your regular family activities.

This page signposts some resources and tips on how to increase your wellbeing by connecting with nature, no matter your age, and the link below will take you to the Child Mental Health Awareness Week website. 

Further information and resources

Taking care of your mental health

During the pandemic, nature has provided consolation and support to millions of us. Whether it’s been birdwatching, walking in the woods or park, or listening to the ocean, nature has helped calm us in this crisis. Now more than ever, it’s time to connect with nature to help look after your mental health.

Top tips on connecting with nature

Nature and Mental Health Infographic

Health benefits of wild places

Research between the Wildlife Trusts and the University of Essex has shown how the health and wellbeing benefits from nature include improvements to physical health (through increased physical activity) and improvements to psychological and social wellbeing including: reductions in stress and anxiety, increased positive mood, self-esteem and resilience, and improvements in social functioning and social inclusion.

Read the research

The National Forest. Autumnal colour and mist, Beacon Hill Country Park, Leicestershire, UK. November 2010. - Ross Hoddinott/2020VISION

Shinrin-yoku

Scientists at the Universities of Chiba and Kyoto in Japan have shown that breathing in forest air boosts the production of cells in our body associated with immune system health and cancer prevention. Forest air contains essential oils called phytoncides that are emitted by trees and plants to protect them from infection. It's these phytoncides that boost our immune system. Further studies also found that as little as 15 minutes spent among trees per day would lower cortisol levels, blood pressure and pulse rate. Essentially, forest environments help people relax and reduce stress. 

Health benefits of forest bathing

Blogs

30 Days Wild Forget-me-nots by Chris Lawrence

 Forget-me-nots by Chris Lawrence

30 Days Wild

The University of Derby undertook a three year study of participants of our 30 Days Wild challenge. Dr Miles Richardson, Director of Psychology explained: “Over the past three years we’ve repeatedly found that taking part in 30 Days Wild improves health, happiness, nature connection and conservation behaviours." It's easy and free to take part in 30 Days Wild, and we even have special packs available for use in the workplace or in schools, youth clubs and care homes.

30 Days Wild takes place every year in June. Please check back nearer the time to sign up for 30 Days Wild 2022.

Wildflower walk

Wildflower walk - Katrina Martin/2020VISION

Get involved 

Spending time in nature improves our physical and mental health. The Wildlife Trust BCN offers all kinds of ways to connect with nature from outdoor events and volunteer opportunities to national campaigns you can get involved in. Why not get inspired by learning all about your local wildlife and wild places. 

Read more

Wilder wellbeing events

Bringing nature to you

Nature Connection Sessions

Our popular ‘Nature Connections’ sessions bring the beauty and fascination of the natural to the fingertips of those who may not be able to easily access the outdoors.

The sessions have been well received by care homes, dementia cafés, stroke recovery groups and the blind association, all giving positive feedback and seeing the benefit to the participants of making those natural connections. We have lots of resources available and can adapt our sessions to the needs of the group. 

As we can't run these at present, we will share some of our resources to help all those confined to their homes connect with nature. 

Connect with nature at home

"People turn to nature in moments of joy and in moments of sadness. We are part of the natural world.” 

Sir David Attenborough, President Emeritus of the Wildlife Trusts

North Chilterns - Sharpenhoe Clappers

Robert Enderby

Discover your local wildlife and wild places

Explore

Nature at work