Walking barefoot on the grass, stopping to appreciate the sights and sounds of your garden or the nature around you, and even hugging trees, can all play a part in our wellbeing.

So says GP Dr Lucy Loveday, an expert in lifestyle medicine, who has teamed up with The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall (heligan.com) to create an innovative spring wellbeing initiative designed to boost wellbeing and increase positive thoughts.

ADVERTISEMENT

Here, Loveday offers advice on simple things you can do to feel good…

Ways to experience wellbeing in your garden

1. Focus on fractals

Look out for fractals – naturally occurring patterns abundant in nature, in flowers, pine cones, clouds and sea shells, Loveday suggests.

“Look at what’s around you as you connect with nature in whatever space you have available to you, to take in fractals. A pine cone, which has a repetitive pattern that recurs on a progressively finer scale to create shapes of enormous complexity, is a great example,” she explains.

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Lizzie (@elizabella._)

“Noticing the patterns is a great hook to anchor mindfulness practice on, because it brings you into the present moment. You are consciously, deliberately seeking out patterns in the natural environment.”

Those patterns can help us lower our stress levels, she says. Colours can also be good hooks for mindfulness and positivity. “Really draw on the colour of spring blooms, particularly daffodils, rhododendrons, bluebells and magnolias,” she advises.

2. Listen out for garden sounds

Bird Standing GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

“There is evidence that sound has potential restorative effects for wellbeing,” says Loveday. “It can help restore you from a feeling of cognitive fatigue.” Especially she notes, when we are spending so much longer looking at screens because of remote working and connecting with loved ones online.

Recent research by Dr Eleanor Ratcliffe, at the University of Surrey, has found that bird sounds in particular can offer relief from mental fatigue and stress. So stand still and listen to the birds, to gently flowing water, or to the sway of leaves in the breeze. “Listen and enjoy the dawn chorus for that sense of waking up and the joy of spring,” Loveday adds.

3. Dip into forest bathing

Forest Autumn GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

“There is evidence coming from Japan about the benefits of forest bathing,” notes Loveday. “Familiarise yourself with the trees in your immediate space. They release a chemical called phytoncides, which can have a positive effect on our immune system and mood. Even if you can’t hug each other, you can hug trees.”

4. Peruse pollinators

GIF by Nature on PBS - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

“Spring is a great time to make your garden a haven for pollinators. Get creative with caterpillar food plants and nectar-rich flowers. The more you grow in your garden, once you’ve invested that bit of effort, you can sit back and enjoy the show – the butterflies, moths and bees,” says Loveday.

“It’s another way of bringing you into the present moment and connecting you with wildlife. And giving back – helping conservation – is very good for humans.”

5. Grow herbs

A gardener growing herbs; example of wellbeing

“From research, we know that botanical scents, such as those of rosemary and mint, have a powerful, emotive influence on us. Rosemary can enhance alertness and quality of memory, reduce anxiety and improve mood,” says Loveday, while “small studies show that peppermint can enhance attention, alertness and performance, and reduces stress.”

6. Walk barefoot on the grass

GIF by Lemonbug - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

“Grounding and connecting with your bare feet through the earth can make you feel better,” says Loveday. So start your day by going into the garden and walking barefoot on the grass.

Also known as ‘Earthing’, this can also include walking barefoot on soil, sand or any natural surface, and benefits can include reduced inflammation and improved sleep. Just make sure you only walk where it’s safe to do so and there are no potentially sharp objects underfoot.

Early studies have found the planet has its own natural charge and we seem to do better when we are in direct contact with it, according to experts at Heligan.

7. Take green exercise

A lady undergoing exercise in her garden; example of wellbeing
(Alamy/PA)

“The University of Exeter surveyed around 8,000 people and found that people who spend time in the garden are significantly more likely to report general good health and psychological wellbeing and were 7% more likely to meet activity guidelines than people who didn’t spend time in the garden,” Loveday notes. Other evidence shows that exercising in natural environments can help decrease tension, anger, depression and confusion, and increase energy and positivity.

Best-selling herb growing kits

Stuck for inspiration? Check out our list of best-selling Amazon products!

Bestseller No. 1
Herb Garden Seed Growing Kit Gift Box - 5 Traditional Tasty Herbs to Grow; Basil, Parsley, Garlic,...
  • EVERYTHING you need to kick start GROWING YOUR OWN HERB SEEDS at home! Save money and gain satisfaction knowing that you've grown your own HERBS at home. Harvest a bumper crop herbs to add flavour and...
  • Our Seed Kits make the ideal gardening gifts for your green fingered friends and family. Suitable beginner and experienced growers - all the seeds you need for a plentiful supply of herbs.
  • Kit contains a mixture of herb seeds; 1 x Packet of Rocket Salad Seeds, 1 x Packet of Basil Sweet Green Seeds, 1 x Packet of Parsley Moss Curled Seeds, 1 x Packet of Coriander (leaf) Seeds, 1 x Packet...
Bestseller No. 2
Indoor Herb Garden Kit - Complete Herb Growing Kit to Easily Grow Your Own Herbs – with Stylish...
  • WHO SHOULD BUY THIS KIT? – If you or someone you know loves tending plants, and if watching something grow gives you joy, then this kit is for you
  • GARDENING FOR ALL – We believe that gardening should be for everybody, not just for fit people with gardens. People with flats, people with reduced mobility, people who have never grown anything,...
  • GOOD FOR THE SOUL - We believe nurturing plants from seed is good for our mental health. “Gardening is medicine that does not need a prescription”
Bestseller No. 3
Sprig & Sprout Herb Growing Kit to Grow Your Own Herb Garden - 5 Organic Herb Seeds, 5 Bamboo Pots &...
  • For Every Season: Grow your own herbs now with an evergreen indoor herb garden for the gardening hero in you. All your favourite, fragrant herb plants will thrive window side, protected from the...
  • Seed Growing: Grow five favourites from herb seeds, right on your windowsill. Fresh-cut snippets of homegrown herbs bring more zest and flavour to every meal. Add fragrant basil and oregano to your...
  • A Greener Choice: Why grow your own indoor herb garden in plastic when bamboo is abundant? Biodegradable bamboo pots and trays are eco-friendly. Mark each pot with the included laser-cut bamboo...
Bestseller No. 4
Medicinal Herb Seed Growing Kit - Grow Your Own Indoor Gardening Gift - Herbal Tea Herbs Starter Kit...
  • GROW YOUR OWN MEDICINAL TEA HERBS INDOORS YEAR ROUND. Home herbalists get a collection of 12 most popular healing and culinary herbs which can be made into homegrown remedies. Useful and easy-to-grow:...
  • MAKE YOUR OWN HEALING HERBAL TEAS (FOR SLEEP, DIGESTION, AND COLD). Many of these 12 traditional heirloom herbs can be brewed into teas or used for aromatherapy, tinctures, and salves that have been...
  • BEST VALUE. With our growing kits, you get more garden seeds than competitors and more than you actually need to make sure you will successfully grow multiple plants. Our Lab Tested and Good...
SaleBestseller No. 5
Chef'n Microgreen Grower / Herb Growing Kit, 36 x 15 x 8 cm
  • Go from home chef to urban farmer: grow your own healthy microgreens and micro herbs at home, with this clever indoor garden from Chef 'n
  • Nice and compact: this grow kit is slim enough to fit on most windowsills and surfaces - even in small kitchens
  • Easy to use: it comes with full instructions - just add seeds and soil, and you can harvest your first batch in as little as 2 weeks

Last update on 2021-08-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

You may also be interested in…

Wise Living Magazine may receive a small commission to help support the running of this site from purchases made from links on this page, or some links may have been sponsored to be included in the article. Affiliate or sponsored links do not influence our editorial or articles published by Wise Living.

ADVERTISEMENT

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.