News from the Natural World: Spending time in nature will be prescribed for all mental illnesses.
Sweden are the first country to make the move due to a comprehensive report. The report showcased the benefit of immersion in nature for people suffering mental health problems. In a world first, spending time in nature will now be prescribed alongside cognitive behavioural therapy, group therapy, medication, exercise, caring support networks and access to animals.
The Swedish Government commissioned a report into the effects of spending time in nature on patients suffering from mental illnesses. These illnesses included Stress, Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, Post Natal Depression and many others. The study prescribed 30 minutes of time every day spent in nature, this could be a walk in the park or by a river depending on a patients access to green spaces.
Spending time in nature prescribed for mental illnesses
The group then measured the impact that experiencing nature had on emotional well-being, cognitive functioning and other dimensions of mental health. They found that spending time in nature had a positive impact on patients brains patterns and behaviour. It helped to reduce anxiety, stress and increased capacity, connection and creativity. It also helped to stop dark or dangerous thoughts and negative spirals.
“Nurturing something else into life has really helped my wellbeing. Gently caring for something helped me learn to care for myself.”
However, spending time in nature can in absolutely no way cure a mental illness on its own. It will be used in conjunction with all other traditional medical treatments. Alongside medication, therapy, CBT, counselling, support networks etc patients will be prescribed 30 minutes of time every day in nature. This could be a walk in the park, sitting beneath a tree, watching ducks on a pond. Any activity, no matter how small, that involves being closer to the natural world. The move has been benefitting people in urban environments even more than those in rural areas as it is forcing them to find the little pockets of green amongst the urban sprawl.
Finally, spending time in nature is finally prescribed for people suffering mental illnesses.
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