Connecting with nature is good for you
One positive that the pandemic highlighted to many, was just how important getting outside and connecting with nature was for their physical and mental wellbeing.
Taking a short stroll through a park, sitting at a bench and watching a bee go about it’s business or weeding a garden patch, by taking these small moments to wholly connect with the sights, sounds and natural textures around us can make us feel happier, it is also beneficial to our physical health too.
There have been numerous studies over recent years identifying how spending quality time and having an emotional attachment with our natural surroundings can help us feel less stressed, improve our memory, help us concentrate more, can strengthen our immune system and can also help can promote healing from surgery. (www.scientificamerican.com/article/nature-that-nurtures)
This is why ‘connecting with nature’ is one of The Friendly Bench CIC's 3 core principles, enabling people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to have easy accessible interactions with nature, wildlife and the outdoors right on their doorstep. By creating kerbside community social spaces where people can spend quality time in nature, each of our The Friendly Bench can help improve people’s physical health and mental wellbeing. According to one Finnish study, spending just 15 minutes sitting in nature helped people feel psychologically restored.
As each The Friendly BenchⓇ is also an active and inclusive social space we create opportunities for people to meet others in their community which can also help improve their self esteem and life satisfaction whilst helping reduce loneliness.
Just one example of nature-based, community-led activities that encourage healthy social interactions are the Mindful Walking Trail’s at The Friendly Bench Chester. These free 90 minute guided mindful walking practice and reflection sessions are run by BAMBA associate and mindfulness professional Rachel Smith and aim to bring people together to connect with each other and with nature to reap the many mental health and wellbeing benefits nature connections can bring. To find out more, head over to The Friendly Bench Network Member Chester's Facebook page: @Friends of Countess of Chester Country Park
This is just one example, throughout the year our The Friendly Benches across the UK are delivering gardening workshops, bulb planting days and bird watching events to name just a few, all with the aim of encouraging people to get outside and engage with the natural world, whilst also creating real-world social connections in their communities. To keep up to date with what’s going on across our The Friendly Bench Network, like our Facebook page @TheFriendlyBench
If you think your community would benefit by joining The Friendly Bench Network™ here’s more information: https://www.thefriendlybench.co.uk/join