Being in the wilds is the greatest relief. Pure openess is possible, where the skies roar & sigh: as do our hearts, for the way, to be open.
Peace in the heights, for the love of the peace of night, under such twinkling stars, we need not yearn, for we see so far.
The keenest joys of the day, when we awake with the dewy buds in May & the Kingfisher flies & catches our eye.
The exhileration of the wilds, grips the vision, the soul does stir, for peace to spread & the cities to become so green, so we may not ever have to leave here.
Evidence Based Research
-A Look At The Ecotherapy Research, Craig Chalquist, John F. Kennedy University, Pleasant Hill, California.*Researchers like Kahn and Kellert (2000) have found biocentric reasoning in children all over the world. Although many raised in built environments find nature to be fearful or dirty at first, emotional affinity developed by spending time in natural settings correlates strongly with later pro-environmental behaviors and commitments (Kals, Schumacher, & Mondata, 1999). Moreover, the earth-based affinities of parents are often learned by their children(Hoyt, 2006). Positive experiences with nature have been found to lead to exemplary community service in adulthood (Bellotti, 2006).
– A Look At The Ecotherapy Research, Craig Chalquist, John F. Kennedy University, Pleasant Hill, California.
*Marselle, Irvine and Warber (2014) undertook a large-scale study examining group walks in nature and multiple aspects of wellbeing. They found that group walks in nature were associated with significantly lower depression, perceived stress and negative affect, as well as enhanced positive affect and mental wellbeing, both before and after controlling for co-variates. There were no group differences on social support. In addition, nature-based group walks appeared to mitigate the effects of stressful life events on perceived stress and negative affect while synergising with physical activity to improve positive affect and mental wellbeing.
– Can ecopsychology research inform coaching and positive psychology practice? Stephen Palmer PhD National Wellbeing Service.
*94 percent of people commented that green exercise activities had benefited their mental health. Some of their comments included: “I feel better about myself and have a sense of achievement.” “I am more relaxed, have better focus of mind, greater coordination and greater self-esteem.” “It improves my depression, helps me be more motivated and gives me satisfaction in doing things. Since starting the project I have been able to improve on my quality of life. Coming here has helped me overcome most of my problems.”
90 percent of respondents had increased self-esteem after the green walk.
71 percent of respondents reported decreased levels of depression following the green walk.
– Ecotherapy – the green agenda for mental health, Mind.
The results of the review of the literature for three different types of green care convincingly highlight a range of mental wellbeing benefits derived by participants. Although the three approaches of STH, environmental conservation and care farming are contextually different, in reality the approaches often feature similar activities and have a similar ethos. These interventions involve a deeper interaction with nature than some of the other forms of green care, allowing service users to really engage with and shape nature. It is perhaps not surprising that the benefits highlighted for the three types of green care are very similar and include:
• Psychological restoration and increased general mental wellbeing
• Reduction in depression, anxiety and stress related symptoms
• Improvement in dementia-related symptoms
• Improved self-esteem, confidence and mood
• Increased attentional capacity and cognition
• Improved happiness, satisfaction and quality of life
• Sense of peace, calm or relaxation
• Feelings of safety and security
• Increased social contact, inclusion and sense of belonging
• Increase in work skills, meaningful activity and personal achievement
The mental health and wellbeing benefits from these ‘hands-on’ nature-based interventions appear to be derived from the combination of the three key elements; i) the natural environment; ii) the meaningful activities; and iii) the social context, which characterise these approaches.
– 5. The mental health benefits from three types of green care, from, A review of nature-based interventions for mental health care. Natural England Commissioned Report NECR204.
Evidence Based Research gathered by SAJMRM.