Green spaces are good for your wellbeing because they can reduce stress, improve mood, increase physical activity, and provide opportunities for social interaction and connection with nature. Research has shown that spending time in nature can have a positive impact on mental and physical health.
But why specifically are trees and woodlands so good for us?
We already know that trees are good for your health because they produce oxygen and improve air quality, but The Woodland Trust tells us that there is strong and growing evidence linking exposure to trees with enhancements in both physical and mental health and wellbeing.
Short-term physical benefits of trees have been measured simply by sitting in a room with tree views. Just by looking at green spaces!
Research also shows that other benefits include:
speeding recovery from surgery and illness,
enhancing attention and cognitive function,
improving mental health and wellbeing,
improving pregnancy and birth outcomes,
reducing mortality rates (especially related to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases),
and of course, encouraging physical activity.
This is extremely powerful to read don’t you think?
This research is further confirmed by Forest Research which shows that both exercising in forests and simply sitting and looking at trees reduces blood pressure as well as the stress-related hormones cortisol and adrenaline.
Forests Make Us Healthier
There have been numerous other studies over many years and from around the world have explored the health benefits of spending time outside in nature, green spaces, and, specifically, forests.
Recognizing those benefits, in 1982, the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries even coined a term for it: 'shinrin-yoku'. It means taking in the forest atmosphere or 'forest bathing', and the ministry encourages people to visit forests to relieve stress and improve health.
They have found the outcomes are:
Exposure to forests boosts our immune system.
Spending time around trees and looking at trees reduces stress, lowers blood pressure and improves mood.
Green spaces in urban areas are just as important as rural forests.
Spending time in nature helps you focus.
In children, attention fatigue causes an inability to pay attention and control impulses.
Patients recover from surgery faster and better with a "green" view.
For the details and the science behind these claims, see the article here.
Woodland Wonders at Green Farm
All of this research just compounds what we already know and value here at Green Farm and why we treat the woodland as another space to welcome Spa and Retreat guests to. Our guests wander and wonder!
We also host regular special events in the woodland like Forest Bathing with Vanessa Nourse, Dining with the Nightingales, our new Singing Workshop with Kelly and Gemma from Songbird Sessions which will include sound meditation in the woodlands. Plus we have our Summer Solstice Celebration on 21st June with Yoga and a Campfire Supper in Fairyland with our Yoga Leader, Caelia Butcher.
Find out more about these events on our What's On page.
Exploring Further Afield
If you can’t get to us for an event, then we’d love you to explore your own local green spaces now that you know just how important they are to your wellbeing.
Perhaps there are some green spaces on your doorstep you haven’t yet discovered?
The Woodland Trust has an easy search tool for you to discover your nearest woodland.
If you are in London perhaps you can explore 'The Greenground'. Graphic designer, Helen Ilus has created this map as part of a scheme to unite the verdant bits of London.
The Greenground contains six themed lines: the Thames, Regent (as in the canal), Royal, South, City and North, all places where you might like to swim, kayak or walk, are also marked.