When I think back to some of my most memorable and joy filed days as a child, they invariably involve the great outdoors. It’s not sitting watching tv that fills my mind with euphoric nostalgia, but running carefree through the sun dappled woods, paddling in cold water streams as the sun shimmers on its surface, plunging headlong into the sea or feeling the cold sharp rock pressing into my hands as I scrambled up onto high places. Even now as I sit writing on a gloomy Monday morning, reminiscing on these times, I feel a sense of optimism and cheer that had evaded me earlier this morning.
The mood enhancing effects of spending time in green spaces and near water is intuitively felt by people the world over, however there is now a body of scientific evidence that is growing at an extraordinary rate, which proves beyond doubt, that nature makes us feel better.
Spending time in natural spaces promotes relaxation and alleviates stress, reduces blood pressure, and lowers anxiety. Being outside also improves concentration, builds productivity and boosts creativity. Getting active has long been associated with physical wellbeing benefits, and being active in the woodlands is often easier to be motivated towards than the indoors alternatives and can be more enjoyable too.
Community wellbeing is important to FCCT. We are currently developing a service in a collaboration with Forestry Scotland, which aims to use woodlands to deliver a programme of activity which allows members of the community who are affected by poor mental health to experience the powerful healing, that accessing greenspaces and woodlands can have on their wellbeing. The programme will be underpinned by the five steps to mental health.
At FCCT we promote responsible access to many of the wonderful green spaces throughout Fife and both the Fife Coastal Path and the Pilgrims Way pass through some wonderful areas of woodland.
To celebrate National Mental Health Awareness week, FCCT are encouraging the Fife public to swap the screen for the woodlands and head out to experience the restorative power of our wonderful Fife outdoors. The pandemic over the last two years has contributed to increased loneliness and isolation. Why not give that old acquaintance a call and arrange to go for a walk? Here’s a few suggestions of walks to get you started. Take care and enjoy.
To find out more about Mental Health Awareness week click here
To read up on the research referenced in this post click here