Time spent around nature and animals is vital for our mood and mindset. But if we take the train to work in a factory or an office, or drive to the shops at the weekend, it can be really easy to cut ourselves off from nature. That applies as much if you live in a rural area as it does if you live in town or city.
If you’re in that group who don’t feel a strong affinity for nature and animals then you might not feel that you’re missing out. However, studies show that it’s providing vital experiences to those people too – it’s just that they’re less aware of it.
Being out in the natural world, and seeing the change of the seasons, reminds us of the scale of the world and the passing of time. For the vast majority of us they help us to put our thoughts and problems into perspective.
The benefit of spending time with animals is slightly different and tends to be more calming. the vast majority of us non-productive time spent with animals gives us a respite from anxiety and worry, and a chance to be lost directly in the moment.
Here are five things that you can do to start getting the benefits of time spent around nature and animals – even if you don’t have a garden or animals.
- If you don’t have a garden think about houseplants, or outdoor plants on a balcony or patio. Studies have shown the benefits of being around plants in even an office environment.
- Grow something on your kitchen windowsill – anything from cress to chili peppers. They will help you become more aware of the natural cycle.
- Spend regular time out of doors in a natural setting – if there’s a park near work or home get into the habit of spending time there.
- If you have pets then spend non-productive time with them – that’s time outside of walking or cleaning. From teaching a pet bird a new word to grooming a horse, engagement with an animal re-charges us.
- If you don’t have any animals the co-opt some. Offer to walk a neighbour’s dog, or attach a bird feeder to the outside of your window – anything that helps time around animals become a regular part of your life.
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