In What's On

January is recognised as one of the most depressing months, in fact Monday, January 20th is the day that most people feel depressed and has been named Blue Monday.

There are a number of reasons why this Monday of all Mondays is thought to be the most depressing of all – post-Christmas blues (and debt), already failed New Year’s resolutions and cold, dark evenings are enough to make anyone want to hibernate away but the Lancashire Wildlife Trust have another solution – nature.

Turning Blue Monday green has been scientifically proven, time and time again to make us feel happier and healthier. Still need convincing? here’s just some of the science behind why you should be spending more time outside.

Decreased stress levels. Many scientists believe that we have actually evolved to feel more relaxed in natural spaces. One Japanese study for example, found that participants who walked in forests exhibited significantly lower heart rates and reported better moods and less anxiety than individuals who took a walk of the same length and intensity in an urban setting. Another recent piece of research carried out by Brighton and Sussex Medical School determined that sounds of nature, the wind whistling through the leaves or the passing of a gentle stream, help us to relax ourselves and feel calmer. Furthermore, in a piece of research conducted in collaboration with The Wildlife Trusts, Exeter University found that after just a short period of time volunteering in nature, 95% of participants reported feeling significantly higher levels of mental health and wellbeing.

Improved sleep. Exposure to natural light during the day boosts our mood and keeps our circadian rhythm, or body clock, in balance. Research shows that the amount of sunlight you get during the day (particularly direct morning sunlight) has a big influence on how much sleep we get at night. A lack of sunlight has been shown to affect the production of hormones melatonin and serotonin and is thought to be one of the leading causes of a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.

Increased endorphins. Physical activity, even something very gentle like a light walk pumps up your endorphins – your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, giving your wellbeing an instant boost and what better place to get your heart-rate up than in the great outdoors? Taking a stroll or better yet, volunteering at a local nature reserve will not only boost your own mood, it will also contribute to nature’s recovery too.

Whether you subscribe to the idea of Blue Monday or not, all of us will struggle with our mental health and wellbeing at some point in our lives. The Lancashire Wildlife Trust offers a free, fast and proven way to help you on your journey to a healthier, happier you.

Emma Bartlet, Myplace Senior Project Officer said, “Nature is so powerful and we are only now really starting to understand and appreciate the profound impact it has on all our lives. Working at Myplace I can see the huge difference spending even a bit of time outside can have on people. Myplace is changing people’s lives and I would urge you to give us a try.”

Working in close collaboration with the Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, The Wildlife Trust’s Myplace programme combines ecotherapy with nature volunteering and is the perfect way to give back to nature, take time for yourself, meet new people and get 2020 off to the best start possible.

Myplace is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund through ‘Our Bright Future’ and ‘Reaching Communities England’ and The European Social Fund. Myplace is active across numerous locations throughout Lancashire and we have recently expanded our work into Bolton and Wyre. We work with a wide-range of ages and abilities and can offer an almost immediate start in most cases.

Think you or someone you know could benefit from Myplace? Get in touch with our friendly team today for an informal chat and let’s feel better, together. Call us on 01772 872007 or drop us an email to today.




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