Connecting with nature boosts wellbeing and happiness, study finds

Engaging with 'natural beauty' has been found to improve wellbeing and happiness, according to a study of the annual nature challenge from The Wildlife Trusts

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The Wildlife Trusts’ annual nature challenge 30 Days Wild encourages people to do something wild every day for the month of June. According to the charity, more than 250,000 people took part in 2017, doing activities such as wild camping, nature walks, wildlife spotting and gardening.

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Researchers from the University of Derby analysed data from 30 Days Wild 2017, and found that engagement with the natural world had a positive impact on the wellbeing and happiness experienced by participants in the challenge.

Dr Miles Richardson, Director of Psychology, University of Derby, said: “Over the past three years we’ve repeatedly found that taking part in 30 Days Wild improves health, happiness, nature connection and conservation behaviours. Now we’ve discovered that engagement with the beauty of nature is part of that story.

“Tuning-in to the everyday beauty of nature becomes part of a journey which connects us more deeply to the natural world. As people’s appreciation of natural beauty increases, so does their happiness.  We respond to beauty – it restores us and balances our emotions. This, in turn, encourages people to do more to help wildlife and take action for nature.” 

The study also found that the benefits of the challenge last well after the month has ended, with indicators suggesting that the beneficial impact of taking part could last an entire year.

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The study also found that the benefits of the challenge last well after the month has ended/Credit: Matthew Roberts

Lucy McRobert, Campaigns Manager for The Wildlife Trusts said:
 “30 Days Wild is a lovely way to get closer to nature and marvel at the everyday wildlife that lives all around you. Sit quietly and enjoy watching dragonflies dance over a pond or take a moment to sow a window-box of wildflowers to help bees. Get together with your neighbours to create hedgehog highways or sow front-garden meadows along the length of your street. No matter how small the action, it all counts!”

To support the challenge, The Wildlife Trusts is launching a ‘Big Wild Weekend’ of wildlife events across the UK on 16th and 17th June, which includes activities such as bushcraft, osprey trails, mammal tracking, wild sleepovers and wild river swims and more.

Get your free 30 Days Wild pack

Sign-up to 30 Days Wild and you’ll get a free pack with a booklet of inspirational ideas for Random Acts of Wildness, a recipe for wild strawberry and thyme ice cream, wildflower seeded paper to sow, a wall chart to record your activities and wild stickers. There are special packs for schools with outdoor lesson plans and giant Random Acts of Wildness cards. Business can join in too, with tailored download packs to bring the ‘wild’ to work.

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Image: Matthew Roberts