14 May, 2021
Imagine a pill that could improve your concentration, memory, sleep, muscle strength and mood. Now imagine it also made you less selfish, less irritable and more connected to a purpose beyond yourself. And what’s more, it was widely available and totally free. Sounds too good to be true, right?
But this Mental Health Awareness Week, businesses and campaigners across the UK are celebrating a widely available treatment that offers all these benefits and more: nature.
In her recent blog post, Laura Gibbons, Good Business’ favourite therapist (and Giles’ wife) reveals that just twenty minutes in nature brings significant and speedy benefits, with even the colour green being associated with positive mental health outcomes. Not only does looking at green foliage increase participants’ ability to concentrate, people lifting green boxes consider them to be lighter than equivalent black ones.
There is also some scientific evidence that the relatively higher levels of negative air ions near forested areas (and large bodies of water) can positively impact mental outlook – helping to explain the popular Japanese practice of ‘forest bathing’.
As we emerge bleary-eyed from lockdown, finding ways to incorporate nature into our new routines will offer major benefits. Businesses can get involved, too: whether it’s match-funding employees participating in the Mental Health Foundation’s 30-day Take Action, Get Active challenge, or simply stocking up on office plants to provide a breath of fresh air after a tough year.
By Sarah Howden