Mindful Walks for Mental Health
9th October 2023
October 10th is World Mental Health Day, a day to reflect on the importance of mental health and how we can take care of our wellbeing, as well as understanding it’s okay to ask for help.
Connection with nature is known to have a strong link with improved mental health, reducing the production of stress hormones, improving sleep, reducing depression and boosting motivation and emotional wellness.
70% of UK adults agree that being close to nature improves their mood – The Mental Health Foundation.
So we want to share some of our favourite mindful walks and places, whether it’s enjoying sea views from the clifftops, losing yourself with some forest bathing, or immersing yourself in nature at one of our country parks.
Soothing Sea Views
Spending time near blue space (rivers, lakes, and especially the sea) is associated with many positive measures of mental wellbeing. Water has a restorative effect, reducing negative moods and stress even better than green spaces. Whether it’s watching the ebb and flow of the tide, the fresh breeze on your face, or even diving in for a wild swim, let these coastal walks lift your spirits.
Peaceful Forest Bathing
Forest bathing, or ‘shinrin-yoku’, is a Japanese practice – the idea of being calm and tranquil amongst the trees, watching nature and controlling your breathing. You can learn more about it in our Forest Bathing blog.
This type of mindfulness combined with the sights and sounds of nature can help people focus on the present moment, manage stress and reduce anxiety and depression. Here are some of our favourite woodlands to escape into for some peace and tranquillity.
People’s wellbeing benefits most from “high quality” natural spaces – those rich in plants and wildlife, kept free of litter and which feel calm and quiet. Kent has many wonderful country parks which have been awarded the Green Flag for excellence in 2023. Here are some of our favourite walks from those country parks:
As the days grow shorter, you might feel less motivated to go outside, but building in time to walk during the day, even for just 10 minutes, can boost your mood and overall wellbeing.
If you’re struggling with your mental health there is help available, please look at these mental health resources from Kent County Council.