Using the natural world to benefit wellbeing seems almost too simple a solution, but there’s a growing body of scientific research that shows it works very effectively.
Nature is full of fascinating things, whether at face level, underfoot or overhead. There’s so much to rediscover and appreciate and nature can hold our attention without requiring much mental effort.
Natural environments have a capacity to have a restorative effect. Fostering a relationship with nature is now considered important for everyone and there’s scientific proof that sessions noticing good things in nature, for just 2 hours a week, can deliver health and wellbeing benefits.
In relation to U3A members, spending time with others connecting with nature in a group situation would maximise Wellbeing With Nature benefits. Supportive guidance to connect with and tune into nature could involve a variety of activities including art, crafts, poetry, creative writing, photography and even practical environment management if appropriate to where the group is run.
What activities you offer in a Wellbeing With Nature group is almost secondary to the purpose, that of encouraging and facilitating members to connect with the natural world via pathways that spark engagement and a desire for quiet contemplation.
A very important aspect of a Wellbeing With Nature session is the social one, the coming together of the group to reflect on nature connection experiences while sharing refreshments, helping foster a sense of community.
I always think that creating outdoor opportunities that include flasks, fun and friendship contribute to people feeling part of something that helps take them out of themselves.
A weekly Wellbeing With Nature session could be very beneficial for healthy ageing and can, to name but a few of the benefits, encourage relaxation and better moods, improve sleep, promote renewed energy levels, lower anxiety and blood pressure and boost immune system function.
To find out more about setting up a similar group contact Susan at https://www.u3a.org.uk/resources/subjects/478-wellbeing-with-nature