Healing Gifts of Nature

Dated: 23 May 2024


Have you ever noticed how spending time in nature helps you to relax and feel good? Sitting or going for a walk in nature – on a beach, in a park or even just around suburban streets with nice trees and gardens, can enhance well being.

Movement allows us to get out of our heads and into our bodies, while a change of scenery can help us break out of repetitive thought cycles. The feel-good hormones, endorphins, that we produce when we move and exercise, contribute to this feeling of wellbeing too.

There are so many ways to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of nature, taking it in through all of our senses. You may stop to smell the scent of a rose in someone’s garden, or pick a eucalyptus leaf and rub it between your hands, cup your hands over your nose, and take a deep inhale. If it’s been raining, or is raining still, take a moment to marvel at the jewel tipped leaves all around you, creating a magical fairy garden. 

While walking in the rain may not immediately sound appealing, science tells us otherwise. Rain produces negative ions, which are tiny molecules that can enhance well-being. It’s a primal connection—the essence of life and growth. Rain evokes a sense of replenishment, meeting our basic survival instincts and calming our nervous system. These health promoting molecules are also produced by flowing streams and the sea spray from breaking waves in the ocean.

For millennia, humans lived their lives surrounded by the soft edges of nature, the sound of wind in trees and flowing streams. Today, humans in most parts of the world spend the majority of their lives indoors, seeing the sharp angles of buildings, bright fluorescent lighting and flat screens. One of the simplest ways we can relieve ourselves of modern day stress is to simply go outside and take in the beauty of nature.

This is the reason I love doing what I do – providing counselling to our wonderful clients in the embrace of nature. It’s not just that nature is subjectively beautiful and calming, it’s that being in nature is scientifically proven to enhance our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing too. 

As humans, we are much more complex than we give ourselves credit for. Our nervous systems and the billions of microbes in our body are continually receiving signals from our environment. When we choose to spend time in a lovely location in nature, our complex system receives the message that we are safe and connected.

I’ve had the joy of witnessing this transformation in clients in real time. Hearing a sigh of relief as they rest their backs against the sturdy trunk of a tree, witnessing a spreading smile as they dip their toes in the cool trickle of a stream and receiving the feedback that they feel better, because sometimes a good honest talk in the sunshine is just what is needed.

It is a power and a privilege to offer this work, and the good news is that anyone can harness the benefits of nature for themselves. It’s all there waiting for you – the energising sun, the calming rain, the gentle caress of leaves. What are you waiting for?

By Nature-Based Counsellor, Kath Grimbly