Many people around the world are finding it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It is mostly because of the hectic work schedule that keeps them stressed most of the time.
Many tend to seek immediate medication to relieve their stress and tension. Unfortunately, most of the time, medication comes with numerous side effects.
So what can be a good remedy for your physical and mental issues without having to deal with the side effects of medication?
A few decades of research has come up with a simple yet profound answer – Nature. Countless studies and researches have concluded that nature is beneficial for us in every possible way. From treating high blood pressure and depression, from mitigating attention disorder and anxiety, and even for enhancing creativity, being outdoors and in natural locations helps a lot.
As a matter of fact, doctors in Scotland have started prescribing nature to their patients. This initiative can be considered as a perfect example for the rest of the world to follow.
Background of the Initiation
Doctors in Shetland, Scotland have come up with this solution to keep anxiety and tension at bay. Since October 2018, the doctors in the 10 GP (General Practice) offices on the islands are granted an authority to issue nature prescriptions by the archipelago’s health board, National Health Service (NHS) Shetland.
NHS Shetland has teamed up with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Scotland for the pioneering initiative.
RSPB Scotland has prepared a leaflet and a calendar of seasonal activities for connecting people with nature.
Research shows that nature offers numerous benefits to our mental and physical well-being. A 90-minute walk in nature can reduce the levels of rumination, which could be a precursor of mental illnesses.
Similarly, the more you take outdoor walks, the better you can balance your heart rate and blood pressure. The motive of this Scottish initiation matches well with the researched benefits of nature to your mind and body.
This first program of its kind in the United Kingdom helps to treat patients suffering from mental illness, heart disease, diabetes, stress, and other health conditions. Doctors prescribe birdwatching, hiking, and beach walks in the Atlantic winds to help treat chronic illnesses for the first time.
In the meantime, this program also states that spending ample time in nature can reduce aggression and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms. Besides, it also improves pain control and enhances the immune system.
A Look at Nature Prescriptions Calender
The doctors have prepared a leaflet of nature prescription with suggestions. These suggestions are classified on the basis of months, thus providing prescription for a full year.
We have generalized these doctor-prescribed suggestions for your convenience here:
- January- Step outside and be still for three minutes and listen.
- February- Look for signs and tracks of animals and also prepare your own windsock from a hoop and material to appreciate the speed of the wind.
- March- Borrow a dog and take it for a walk, or create some beach art using natural materials like sand and rock.
- April- Touch a sea or turn over some soil and plant some flowering plants.
- May- Bury your face in the grass or find an outdoor space where you feel safe to just ‘be.’
- June- Sit cross-legged on the ground and listen to the birds while closing your eyes.
- July- Pick two different types of grass and look at them, or notice every bird you see.
- August- Make a moth trap and identify your catch, or listen and copy a bird sound.
- September- Prepare a full three-course meal for your family outdoors, or find the place or activity that makes you feel most at home in nature.
- October- Appreciate a cloud or re-wild one of your senses by smelling everything in nature.
- November- Take a small hike in jungle or hills, or backpack to a city or country
- December- Feed the birds in your garden, or look back on your year and analyze how far you have come.
For a more detailed calendar, visit:
Prolonged indoor activity has shown to increase tension, stress, and obsession, resulting in depression. We need to pay attention to the fact that we have been too occupied with our daily schedules, and nature seems to be very far from us.
It’s quite ironic that we are at such a time when doctors have to prescribe nature to us to keep us safe from the physical and mental burdens.
The Scottish initiative to prescribe nature to their patients is an exemplary move. This program sets a tone for better health and lifestyle through exposure to nature rather than medication.
Share this amazing news with your friends and give them another reason to join you on your next hike.