Thank you to Age Scotland for this brilliant read about how to experience nature through sound, wherever you are and whatever outdoor space you do, or do not have.
Getting outside in nature can lower stress, improve mood and create an increased sense of well-being. These benefits are recognised by the medical establishment: after a successful trial in Shetland, some Edinburgh GP practices have signed up to an RSPB initiative called nature prescriptions.
But what if you’re not able to get outside at the moment? Can nature come to you?
There are many ways to enjoy the sounds of nature from your own home. Nature Radio, https://natureradio.org/, is a non-profit initiative which has recordings from national parks around the world. You can lose yourself in the sounds of forest rain at the Kamikochi National Park in Japan or relax listening to the wind in the reeds at the Shar Khuls Oasis in Mongolia.
The BBC Soundscapes project offers an immersive online experience of nature, allowing listeners to relax and be transported by the sounds of the natural environment – plus, there’s also the chance to take part in a University of Exeter study to see how virtual experiences of nature might impact wellbeing. See https://canvas-story.bbcrewind.co.uk/soundscapesforwellbeing/
to find out more.
For anyone who can’t get out to experience nature for real, these can be uplifting ways of escaping into the natural world.
Connect to Nature / Get Outdoors
Research shows that connecting to nature and getting outdoors improves wellbeing and can slow down decline in dementia symptoms. Here are some ideas for you, from the Dementia Adventure website but you might want to come up with some of your own.
- Take your cuppa into the garden
- Sit by an open window and feel the fresh air on your skin
- Do some gardening
- Bring a plant or flowers from your garden indoors so you can enjoy them
- Sit outside and think about what you can see, smell, hear and feel
- Make a bird feeder and watch the birds flock to your garden
- Collect some items from your garden and arrange them into a picture
- Collect some stones from your garden and paint them
- Make a garden rainbow, looking for items of every colour of the rainbow.
- Walk around your garden – observing different textures and insects
- Stand by your door and breathe deeply for a few minutes and feel yourself relax
If you don’t have a garden, you could grow some plants to put on your windowsill and bring the outdoors in!
Here are some other ideas from Luminate, Scotland’s creative ageing organisation, if you don’t have a garden to let the outdoors in. Luminate have produced a whole range of short films with activities that can be done at home. Here are a couple of nature related activities to try:
- Make your own work of art with Creating A Flower Mandala. In this film, Marcela Trsova invites you to join her in the ancient art of mandala making.
- Paper Birds – is led by visual artist Christine Hilditch using recycled materials that you should have to hand.