One thing that undoubtedly connects each human to one another is the planet on which we share our existence; the earth. We were born here, we breathe here, we will (probably!) always be bound to this place, together. Perhaps a rather powerful thought.
It goes deeper than the delight we may feel at a cool breeze brushing our cheek, a sunny spell warming us all over or the sound of a bird tweeting merrily early in the morning. The earth is a rocky, terrestrial planet and 70% of it is covered by water. 4.543 billion years old, one of the first known of the human species to live on earth, the Homo habilis or ‘handy man’, arrived 2.4 to 1.4 million years ago, followed by another of our close relatives, the Neanderthal.
Just how long the earth was here before human inhabitation is perhaps a humbling thought. The earth provides a livable atmosphere, oxygen, water, food, shelter, heat, light, everything we need to survive and thrive in our human existence, but it can also be a dangerous mistress so we must respect the landscape, the weather, the oceans that surround us and our star, the sun.
If you read our monthly knowledge hub articles you may know by now that we are big believers that getting out into the natural world with regularity can be hugely beneficial to mental and physical health. This is not a new or original concept. In fact it has been scientifically proven that natural foods, natural sources of light and fresh air can all have a positive impact on our wellbeing.
Research into ecotherapy - a treatment that involves doing outdoor activities in nature - has shown a connection between psychological health and spending time in nature. The article linked above shows evidence that spending time outdoors can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as physical symptoms of ill health.
Way to Wellbeing Team Days offer the opportunity to step away from the business of everyday life and find calm, clarity and connection. With your team, reset and reconnect through the power of nature as you forest bathe and engage in wellbeing workshops. Research shows that visiting UK woodlands has huge mental health benefits and our Team Days will take you to some beautiful places to support wellbeing and reduce stress alongside improving communication, listening skills and team dynamics.
Even if you are a city dwelling office worker you can bring nature into the workplace with house plants at your desk and a walk outside at lunch time. Just a little time in nature each day can make a huge difference to our wellbeing.
Our planet is not only there to serve the base layer of our hierarchy of needs but also those top layers identified by Maslow’s theory; According to Maslow, the hierarchy of needs are:
love and belonging needs
The basic layer is physiological needs, which we have already discussed the earth provides, but what about the others? We could build a house with materials from the earth to give us safety, love and belonging we get from each other so our people also need their needs met by the earth. Can we improve our self esteem and self actualisation needs through nature too? Perhaps we can. If you look at the process of growing your own vegetables, or even spices or herbs on your kitchen windowsill. You feed the plants, watch them grow then ingest them and they help fuel your body. This can give you a sense of purpose, (self actualisation and self esteem) as well as feed your mind and body, keeping you physically healthy. Here we are looking at getting practically involved with the natural world on top of being out amongst it in order to fulfil all of our hierarchy of needs including that important last one, self actualisation, which means to fulfil one’s potential which comes from having a sense of purpose.
Social prescribing is on the up, with some doctors now advising patients to get out into nature, go for a walk or join a social club to help with certain symptoms. With mental wealth and wellbeing at the forefront of this kind of treatment plan we could perhaps all consider our own connection with the natural world; simply, are we getting out in it enough?