Just a simple stroll beneath the trees is proven to provoke physiological and psychological responses in your body. When we take a countryside stroll, several things begin to happen inside of us. Firstly, when the sunlight hits our skin our serotonin levels begin to rise. Serotonin, also known as the happy hormone, is also increased when our skin comes into contact with soil (this is also why many people find gardening relaxing!).
As we continue our amble through the woods our blood pressure and pulse rate decrease, as well as our levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. An anxious mind may suddenly begin to feel clearer and less troubled by external worries. By focussing our minds on the beautiful details of the natural environment that surrounds us we can become more present, and this in turn helps to alleviate low mood. The light exercise involved is also proven to release endorphins without overstimulating our nervous system. It’s really all win-win, don’t you think?
“For me, taking a walk among plants and trees is as medicinal as any talking cure or pharmaceutical. I become engrossed in every leafy, creeping or flying inhabitant of the wood and with each detail that draws my attention, with each metre I walk, the incessant clamour of daily concern seems more muffled and the foggy pall of depression begins to disperse” – these wise words resonate strongly with us, words by Emma Mitchell, whose book ‘The Wild Remedy’ documents her personal perspective of how a connection with nature can improve well-being.