When I’m leading forest bathing walks, I offer people invitations to open the senses and help them relax. New evidence suggests that sounds in nature can help boost our mood too.
Having the ‘blues’ is a real feeling so whether suffering the effects the Covid-19 virus or anything else that is bringing you down nature can lift us and according to studies sounds in nature have a restorative effect on the mind and body.
A report from The National Trust in the UK revealed that listening to sounds of nature can have more impact on the nervous system than listening to a meditation app. When participants in the study were asked to listen to woodland sounds for one minute, people felt 30% more relaxed, and anxiety dropped, with no change in the level of relaxation people felt after listening to a meditation app.
In another study, Stanford researcher Greg Bratman scanned the brains of 38 volunteers after they walked for 90 minutes, either in a green space or in a built-up area. The ones walking in nature showed less activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex—a part of the brain tied to low mood and rumination whilst the city walkers showed no change.
It may come as no surprise that spending time in nature has a positive impact on our wellbeing. Sounds of nature can link us back to childhood and people often speak of feeling a sense of belonging when walking in the woods or forest. For those who don’t have access to these then the same can be achieved by walking or simply sitting in a park, a garden or even on a balcony. Find a space to walk or sit and take some time to open your senses and listen to what is around you. Birdsong, rain falling or leaves moving in the breeze even the sound of your footsteps gently treading on grass or soil can be ‘music’ to the ears.
I invite you to close your eyes and listen to the natural sounds around you, what do you notice…?
Wherever you are and whenever you can, trade-up blue for green and see what difference it makes.
Sounds I gathered walking the hills of Monchique
For more information on nature therapy, contact me directly here or: firstname.lastname@example.org