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Illustrated image of two blue banded bees and matted flax lily

Spending time in nature keeps us healthy

Evidence suggests not spending enough time in nature may lead to:

  • a reduction in the use of our senses
  • attention difficulties
  • obesity
  • higher rates of emotional and physical illnesses.

Check out the Victoria Nature Festival 2022 Program for inspiration and ideas and events happening below.

How getting outside can restore your wellbeing

In the 1980s, doctors in Japan began to recommend Shinrin-Yoku, or ‘forest bathing’.

The research found that spending more time in natural habitats can:

  • improve our physical and mental wellbeing
  • lower anxiety levels
  • reduce blood pressure
  • boost our mood
  • improve sleeping patterns.
Picture of the Yarra Ranges National Park Black Spur

‘Green’ prescriptions are good

Doctors in New Zealand have been prescribing some patients nature-based treatments instead of traditional clinical ones since the late 1990s.

In these cases, GPs issued patients ‘green prescriptions’ over medication. And of those who used it, 71% said their long-term health improved.

More recently, countries such as Canada turned to nature in 2022 as a form of post-COVID recovery. Medical professionals in four Canadian provinces began prescribing time in the great outdoors.

Some of these patients have also received year-long passes to national parks and marine conservation areas.

Even the simple act of growing plants and food can help us feel happy.

A study in the Journal of Public Health found people who garden report better mental health compared to those who don’t get their hands dirty. Maybe this explains why gardeners can’t stop smiling?

Open your heart to nature

The truth is: nature needs us, and we need nature.

Traditional Owners have always known this and always will. It is exciting to be able to learn from their ancient wisdom and deep connection with the land. The lessons they can teach us about caring for Country are as relevant today as they’ve always been.

The evidence that nature can nurture your soul is overwhelming. So, we’re encouraging everyone to heed the call of the wild and get into the great outdoors as often as you can.

Check out the Victoria Nature Festival 2022 Program for inspiration and ideas.

Reviewed 09 September 2022

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