how nature can boost our mental health

The benefit nature has on our brains and the positive affect on our mental health is huge. Discover why this is and how to connect with nature.

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Fresh air, being outdoors, and connecting with nature really is good for our physical and mental health. 

Studies have found that mental health and wellbeing increases when we connect and engage with the larger world, outside of ourselves. 

Connecting with the outside world helps us to focus on something beyond our own needs, worries, regrets, or future. This can make us feel calmer, or offer clarity on a problem we’re facing. 

what are the benefits of being outdoors? 

Spending time in nature gives us an opportunity to become part of something bigger than ourselves.  

Whether that’s growing food, exercising, gardening, or walking in the countryside, being in natural surroundings or green spaces can have many positive effects on our mental health and wellbeing including: 

  • improving our mood 
  • reducing stress hormones 
  • gaining a sense of peace 
  • improving concentration 
  • boosting our immune system  
  • improving circulation 
  • psychological restoration 
  • aiding relaxation and sleep 
  • improving confidence and self esteem 

why nature has a positive effect on our wellbeing 

We don’t fully understand why nature has such a positive impact on our wellbeing.  

But it’s thought to be related to how our senses connect us to the environment around us, from the shapes we see in nature, to the smell of the trees, to the curiosity that nature stimulates. All these things help our minds slow down and rest. 

Many of us live in fast-paced urban areas which can be a source of sensory overload for our minds and bodies.  

When we’re stressed, our bodies produce the stress hormone cortisol. While short-term bursts of cortisol can be beneficial, long-term exposure to stress can make cortisol stick around, leading to negative health consequences such as high blood pressure.  

Time in nature can reduce our cortisol levels, and therefore improve our mental and physical health.  

finding space to process our emotions 

The peace of the natural world provides us with the mental space to breathe; the opportunity to hear our thoughts, and helps us process what we feel.  

Being physically immersed in nature can direct our attention back to the body and lessen the mental chatter of the mind. We may find our creativity and enjoyment of life improves. 

The last couple of years has blurred the lines between home and work life for many of us, making it feel like we have fewer opportunities to do activities we enjoy.  

Screen time has gone up, with most of our interactions happening in front of a computer, phone, or tablet. 

While this has kept us connected, it’s also caused many of us to feel overtaxed, overstimulated, and unable to decompress from sensory overload. 

Nature provides an environment to calm our minds. It provides us with a sense of restoration and reconnection to the natural flow of life. 

prioritise getting outdoors 

Going for a daily walk, breathing fresh air, and feeling the sunshine or wind on your face may give you some mental space and a different perspective from which to view your most pressing concerns. You may find the solution is simple, or what was worrying you isn’t so important after all. 

The combination of being outdoors, physical activity, and shared interactions with others can ease us back into the joys of life – and the pleasure we gain from being in the company of our loved ones. 

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your questions answered 

Who is eligible for support?

We support past and present members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW), ACA students, ICAEW staff members, and the family and carers of members and students. 

  1. No matter where your career takes you, past and present members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England Wales (ICAEW) are eligible for caba’s services for life, even if you change your career and leave accountancy 
  2. ACA students (ICAEW Provisional Members) who are either an active student or have been an active student within the last three years are eligible for caba's services 
  3. Past and present staff members of the ICAEW or caba are eligible for caba's services for life, even if you leave either organisation. Please note, for former employees, our financial support is only available to those who have had five years continuous employment with either organisation 
  4. Family members and carers of either an eligible past or present ICAEW member, ACA student or past or present employee of the ICAEW or caba are eligible for caba's support. We define a family member as a: 
    1. spouse, civil partner or cohabiting partner 
    2. widow, widower or surviving civil partner who has not remarried or cohabiting with a partner 
    3. divorced spouse or civil partner who has not remarried or cohabiting with a partner 
    4. child aged up to 25. Please note, children aged between 16 and 25 are not eligible for individual financial support 
    5. any other person who is dependent on the eligible individual supporting them financially or are reliant on the eligible individual’s care 
    6. any other person on whom the eligible individual is reliant, either financially or for care 

You can find out more about our available support both in the UK and around the world on our support we offer  page. 

Are your services means-tested?

If you need financial support, we carry out a means test where we consider income, expenditure, capital and assets.  

*Please note none of our other services are means-tested. 

I’m an accountant, but not a member of ICAEW, can you still help?

Unfortunately not. We only support past and present ICAEW members, their carers and their families. If we are unable to support you, where possible we will point you to help elsewhere.

caba has supported me in the past; can I receive support from caba again?

We understand that circumstances change. If we’ve helped you in the past there’s no reason why we can’t help you again. You can contact us at any time. Please call us if you need our help.

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