World mental health day takes place Tomorrow (October 10th) providing an opportunity to promote open discussions surrounding mental health. One in four of us will experience a mental health problem during our life time. During these times support is essential. Research has shown that ‘Ecotherapy’ can help improve mental wellbeing. Ecotherapy includes activities such as gardening, food growing and environmental conservation work.
Mind a mental health charity have researched into the reasons why Ecotherapy can help reduce depression, anger and feelings of anxiety and stress and why it can improve mood, self-esteem and emotional resilience. Results have shown that the physical activity performed during activities such as gardening not only has physical benefits but mental health benefits too. Endorphins released during exercise reduces stress and feelings of depression/anxiety. As the majority of ecotherapy activities take place outside, there are the added benefits of fresh air. The increased amount of oxygen helps improve serotonin levels which significantly lightens mood and promotes a sense of happiness and well-being.
Additionally, ecotherapy activities are often performed as a group, providing an opportunity to meet new people, reduce loneliness and boost self-esteem. Ecotherapy activities also provide a structure to an individual’s life which provides them with a sense of value and meaning as well as the satisfaction from completing a task / contributing to positive change for the environment.
Here at Credibly Green, we have weekly ‘walking meetings’ where we take a half an hour stroll around the town of Bridgnorth. During these meetings we update one another on project progress, updates and new ideas. (Plus, half of the team now have FitBits so it is an incentive to increase daily steps- friendly competition).
For more information on ecotherapy activities and how they can improve mental health see the link below.