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Recharging Through Nature: Embracing the Healing Power of Green Spaces

Have you ever felt a sense of peace and tranquility while taking a walk in a park or spending time in nature?

Have you experienced the positive effects of nature on your well-being?

Have you ever felt your mind clear when you go out for a walk in nature or the park?


It turns out that nature has incredible healing powers that can positively impact our mental and physical well-being. In this blog post, we will explore the scientific evidence supporting the benefits of green spaces and how they can improve our overall quality of life. So grab a cup of tea, sit back, and join us on this journey to discover the wonders of nature!


PICTURE: K'GARI / FRASER ISLAND


Boosting Mental Well-being:

Have you ever noticed how your stress melts away and you feel a deep sense of calm and relaxation when surrounded by nature?


Imagine the serenity of Fraser Island's rainforests and bush, where stress melts away amidst the quiet and beauty of nature. This is a place I often trek and enjoy. Research consistently shows that spending time in green spaces reduces stress levels, alleviates anxiety and depression, and improves overall mood. The sights, sounds, and scents of the natural environment have a soothing effect on our minds, helping us unwind and recharge.


As I wandered through the lush rainforests, surrounded by towering trees and breathing in the fresh air, the worries of everyday life faded away. The vibrant greens, gentle sunlight filtering through the canopy, and the earthy forest scent created a tranquil atmosphere that nurtured my soul. Observing the wildlife, from soaring birds to playful dingoes, deepened my connection with nature and reminded me of its importance.


Take a moment to seek out the green spaces around you, whether a local park or garden. Embrace nature's embrace and let the stress melt away. You'll discover a newfound sense of calm, rejuvenation, and serenity in your life.


PICTURE: K'GARI/FRASER ISLAND 70KM WALK


Enhancing Physical Health:

Have you considered that connecting with nature can also contribute to our physical well-being?

Let me share with you an unforgettable experience I had on Fraser Island. Embarking on a 70-kilometer walk through its breathtaking landscapes, I discovered how connecting with nature can profoundly impact our physical well-being. As I trekked through sandy shores, dense rainforests, and scenic trails, I realised that immersing ourselves in green spaces offers more than just visual pleasure—it's a fantastic way to improve our overall health and well-being.

Research has consistently shown that regular exposure to green spaces, like the ones found on Fraser Island, can have remarkable benefits for our physical health. Engaging in outdoor activities such as walking, jogging, or cycling in nature not only provides a pleasurable way to exercise but also promotes cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, and reduces the risk of chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes.


As I challenged myself to walk those 70 kilometers, I felt the exhilaration of physical exertion combined with the wonders of nature. The soft sand beneath my feet, the invigorating ocean breeze, and the sounds of wildlife around me created an immersive experience that went beyond mere exercise. With each step, I could feel my muscles strengthening, my endurance increasing, and my overall fitness improving.


The unique terrain of Fraser Island offered a diverse range of physical challenges, from navigating hilly trails to trekking through sandy dunes. Engaging with nature's obstacles not only made the journey exciting but also provided opportunities for varied workouts, benefiting different muscle groups and enhancing overall physical fitness.


So, if you're looking for a way to improve your physical health and well-being, I encourage you to explore the green spaces that surround you. Whether it's embarking on a challenging hike, cycling through a scenic park, or simply taking a leisurely walk in nature, embracing outdoor activities in green spaces can have a transformative effect on your overall health. Let nature be your gym, and reap the rewards of improved cardiovascular fitness, lowered blood pressure, and a reduced risk of chronic diseases.


Step outside, breathe in the fresh air, and let the wonders of nature guide you on a journey toward a healthier and more vibrant life.



VIDEO: LAKE WABBY WALK ON FRASER ISLAND/K'GARI

Nature's Effect on Children:

If you're a parent, have you ever noticed how spending time in nature positively impacts your children?

Let me share with you a heartwarming story about a memorable hike I took with my daughter. As we ventured into the great outdoors, climbing mountains and immersing ourselves in nature, I witnessed firsthand the incredible benefits it had on her concentration and overall well-being.


Numerous studies have demonstrated that exposure to nature has a positive impact on children's concentration, attention, and cognitive functioning, particularly those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It's remarkable how a simple walk in the park can lead to improved concentration for children with ADHD. In fact, everyday green spaces have been suggested as a potential treatment for this condition.


During our hike, I noticed a remarkable change in my daughter. The serene beauty of the surroundings, the fresh air, and the sounds of nature seemed to recharge her mental resources. Her focus sharpened, and her ability to concentrate improved as we navigated through the rugged trails and climbed mountains.


Engaging with nature offers children an opportunity to disconnect from screens and the constant stimulation of modern life. It allows them to tap into their creativity, explore their surroundings, and learn in a more holistic way. The natural environment provides a rich sensory experience, stimulating their senses and awakening their curiosity.


As my daughter explored the wilderness, her imagination soared. She noticed intricate patterns in leaves, listened to the melodies of birds, and observed the fascinating behaviour of wildlife. These experiences not only enriched her understanding of the world but also enhanced her ability to learn and retain information.


Nature serves as a powerful teacher, offering endless opportunities for discovery and growth. Whether its identifying different plant species, observing animal behaviour, or deciphering the secrets of geological formations, every interaction with the natural world contributes to a child's intellectual development.


So, as parents and caregivers, let us encourage our children to embrace the wonders of nature. Take them on hikes, expose them to green spaces, and give them the chance to recharge their minds and bodies. By fostering a connection with nature, we can nurture their concentration, boost their creativity, and support their overall well-being. Together, let's provide our children with the gift of nature—the ultimate playground for their minds and souls.



PICTURE: MOUNT LARCOM (GLADSTONE REGION!) QLD


Connection with Nature and Awe:

Have you ever experienced awe in the presence of nature's grandeur?

That overwhelming feeling of wonder and admiration has a profound impact on our self-perception and well-being. Research has shown that moments of awe can increase our sense of connectedness with the world around us, promote prosocial behaviour, and enhance our overall life satisfaction. So, next time you find yourself surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty, take a moment to savour the awe-inspiring experience. Take a photo or video and capture the moments you have!


PICTURE: FRASER ISLAND AT EURONG BEACH, QLD.


Designing Cities for Well-being:

As urban areas continue to expand, have you ever wondered how we can integrate green spaces into city planning and design?

Incorporating parks, gardens, and green corridors in urban environments is crucial for creating healthier and more livible cities. The presence of nature in urban areas not only enhances mental and physical well-being but also cultivates a sense of community, promotes physical activity, and reduces pollution.


The article "Urban Gardening and Green Space Governance: Towards New Collaborative Planning Practices" explores the importance of collaborative planning and community involvement in the development and management of green spaces, specifically through urban gardening initiatives. By engaging the community in the planning and design process, cities can establish more inclusive and adaptable environments that cater to the diverse needs and preferences of their residents. This approach fosters a sense of ownership and empowerment among community members, leading to more sustainable and thriving urban landscapes.


Some spaces I take my daughter to are featured like the picture below that have natural trees and structures. Check out this picture:


PICTURE: PARK IN LOGANHOLME BRISBANE, QLD.


Nature has a remarkable ability to heal and nourish our mind, body, and soul. From reducing stress and anxiety to promoting physical health and fostering awe-inspiring experiences, green spaces play a vital role in enhancing our overall well-being. Whether it's a leisurely stroll in the park, a hike in the mountains, or simply tending to your garden, make an effort to connect with nature regularly. Embrace the healing power of the natural world, and you'll discover a renewed sense of vitality and joy in your life.


References:

  • Annerstedt, M., & Währborg, P. (2011). Nature-assisted therapy: Systematic review of controlled and observational studies. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 39, 371–388.

  • Douglas, O., Lennon, M., & Scott, M. (2017). Green space benefits for health and well-being: A life-course approach for urban planning, design and management. Cities, 66, 53-62.

  • Faber Taylor, A. & Kuo, F. E. (2009). Children With Attention Deficits Concentrate Better After Walk in the Park. Journal of Attention Disorders, 12(5), 402-409.

  • Faber Taylor, A., & Kuo, F. E. (2011). Could exposure to everyday green spaces help treat ADHD? Evidence from children's play settings. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 3(3), 281-303.

  • Houlden, V., Weich, S., Porto de Albuquerque, J., Jarvis, S., & Rees, K. (2018). The relationship between greenspace and the mental wellbeing of adults: A systematic review. PloS one, 13(9)

  • Nikolaïdou, S., Klöti, T., Tappert, S., & Drilling, M. (2016). Urban Gardening and Green Space Governance: Towards New Collaborative Planning Practices. Urban Planning, 1(1), 5-19.

  • Shiota, M. N., Keltner, D., & Mossman, A. (2007). The nature of awe: Elicitors, appraisals, and effects on self-concept. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 93(2), 283-301.

  • Urban Research - Urban Science; Studies Conducted at University College Dublin on Urban Science Recently Reported (Green space benefits for health and well-being: A life-course approach for urban planning, design and management). (2017, August 4). Science Letter, SCLT, 737.

  • Wendelboe-Nelson, C., Kelly, S., Kennedy, M., & Cherrie, J. W. (2019). A scoping review mapping research on green space and associated mental health benefits. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(11), 2081.


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