Why the South Downs is the perfect natural remedy for mental health
The breathing space of the South Downs National Park, “forest bathing” and enjoying natural light can do wonders to boost mental health.
Spending just one hour a week getting out into the National Park and enjoying the amazing landscape can make a positive difference to reducing stress.
You may think that a visit to the National Park needs to be a day-out or involve vigorous exercise, but it could simply be an hour-long gentle walk at one of our many beauty spots.
Here are five reasons why the South Downs is good for boosting mental health:
1. Going for a walk releases feel-good chemicals
A walk in the countryside builds up cardiovascular fitness and releases the feel-good chemical in the brain, serotonin. If walking with your dog, be sure to keep it on a lead.
2. Forest bathing reduces stress
The National Park is a treasure trove of woodland, such as Alice Holt, Stansted and Friston.
Forest bathing simply means immersing yourself in a forest setting.
Originating in Japan and now a cornerstone of Japanese healthcare, it is a natural way to calm the senses and promote a feeling of peace in a busy world.
3. Getting closer to nature increases self-esteem
Studies point towards spending time in a greener environment as being good for increasing self-esteem, reducing the stress hormone cortisol and reducing blood pressure.
4. Natural light is essential for healthy brain function
Spending too much time indoors, away from natural light, can have a negative impact on our mental health and studies suggest it can contribute to sleep issues, poor memory and anxiety.
Just 20 minutes of exposure to daylight can increase the brain’s levels of serotonin and help control our natural circadian rhythms that dictate sleep-wake cycles.
5. Breathe in the clean fresh air!
Studies indicate that reduced atmospheric pollutants can help support and maintain mental health.
For more ideas on getting out and enjoying the National Park, click here