It’s no secret that a closeness to nature is good for the mind. Indeed, numerous studies have shown the beneficial effects of time spent in green spaces in helping to treat conditions such as anxiety, stress and depression. So if it’s good for the mind, then it’s got to be good for the body as well.

So why exactly does, for example, a walk through a beautiful woodland help our mind and body? In some ways the starting point to understanding this is to look at it the other way around. Imagine yourself in an environment you really don’t like – perhaps a crowded overseas airport terminal when flights have been delayed or cancelled, air conditioning not working and all around is the sound of crying children. Or maybe stuck in a traffic jam on the M25, with the rain tipping down and you haven’t moved an inch in over an hour. These sort of situations can cause anxiety and a sense of helplessness, and can also be compounded by any underlying problems such as depression. The physical consequences of stress and anxiety can soon manifest in the form of increased blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension – all of which can suppress the immune system. These stressful environments which take us out of our comfort zones also inhibit our ability to think clearly and rationally.

Interestingly, the powerful effect of nature on our state of mind is very much a human thing and regardless of culture or age. In fact, in a study cited in the book Healing Gardens, it was found that more than two-thirds of people chose a natural setting such as woodland or large garden to retreat to when suffering from stress.

At Vine House Farm, we often hear from customers how the spectacle of birds coming to feeders in their gardens lifts the spirit. Here on the farm we really appreciate being able to take a walk around the wildflower meadow, or along the edge of a flowering hedgerow, to chill out a bit when things haven’t been going quite to plan.

We’d love to hear from you about the places you go to, or imagine you’re in, which help you deal with the stressful world we all live in. Is it the local woodland or park? Or maybe you’re lucky enough to have a beautiful river bank close-by that you can stroll along, watch the birds, and without a care in the world?