Our relationship with nature – how much we notice, think about and appreciate our natural surroundings – is a critical factor in supporting good mental health and preventing distress.
The topic has been at the forefront of everything to do with wellbeing recently, with nature being the theme for this year’s mental health awareness week. To better understand how the wilderness can enhance our emotions, we got in touch with the Founder of PsycHR, Helen Pericleous.
Helen kindly sat down with us to discuss three of her top strategies on how nature can be incorporated into your own wellbeing and the workplace in order to improve your own physical and emotional state of mind.
“Strategy tip number one, create a biophilic working environment. Now, that means whether you’re working from the office or from home, try to incorporate natural features like plants, water, wood, or stone. Psychological research tells us that these natural elements can contribute to memory, concentration, focus, mood, and calm.
“For the second strategy tip, try to get out and be with nature. This could mean going for a long walk or if you’ve got mobility issues; just being out in nature means that you’re inhaling more oxygen into your bloodstream and through your brain. Laboratory research tells us that increased oxygen can relax our muscles and increase brain functioning. Cognitive activities like problem solving, creativity and prioritising can all be significantly improved.
“If you’ve had a really long day at work or finish a really difficult project, the best way to restore yourself to your natural state is to go out and be with nature. So, if you haven’t got the opportunity to be in a natural setting, don’t worry. Recent studies are telling us that artificial nature can sometimes be as good as being out in the natural environment.
“So, use your senses, like your eyes to observe still images and videos of nature. Use your hearing to listen to all audio recordings of nature, such as rainfall or wildlife, use virtual reality where possible or use imagination like classic mindfulness exercises, like imagining the environment, being out in an open space and reap the benefits of everything you can conjure up in your mind.”
PsycHR is a leading mental health training and HR consultancy company, who have built a valuable reputation for their unique approach to promoting mental health in the workplace whilst balancing commercial productivity.
“Our philosophy is to not erroneously invoke capability, disciplinary or performance management procedures when there is an underlying issue which could be resolved. Organisations should instead look to Develop, Motivate, and Retain members of their workforce, and be mindful of their talented and high performing employees who might be experiencing a dip.”