Hello! My name is Caz Campbell. I’ve lived in Newbury most of my life, I’m a mum of two daughters who are 5 & 7 and I have three other job “hats” which are all on my website: www.happykindcalm.co.uk I teach baby massage, I’m an emotional coach and I’ve published a book focusing on happiness, kindness and calmness. It’s called “Donkey on a Waffle” and includes topics which I’m going to talk about in this blog.
As it’s Easter holidays at the moment, and restrictions are easing with most of our social meet ups outdoors, I thought Nature would be a nice topic! Some of us have spent most of our weekends on walks this last year as that was one of the only things to do, plus we know it’s good for us – spending time outside, surrounded by nature is such an easy boost a well as a change of scene from being locked down in our houses! And it’s been the only chance to see people at times. Obviously this has had it’s limits with weather and being able to go to a toilet! But we’ve seen a huge difference in the last week or so when we’ve had warmer weather. After school we’ve been in the garden so much more, playing football, badminton, Frisbee, and enjoying picnics and BBQs.
Walking outside when angry or stressed can activate more areas of the brain which then helps you to think more clearly. Interviews with 20,000 people in England found that people spending two hours or more per week in nature – doing exercise or simply sitting on a bench – are significantly more likely to report good health. The benefits were the same for young, old, wealthy, poor, urban, rural people and for those with long-term illnesses and disabilities.
Being outside or being surrounded by plants can also increase memory retention by up to 20%. The effect of nature stimulates the senses and the mind, improving cognition and performance. When we engage with natural objects like plants and trees we go into a meditative state, it moves our consciousness from one part of the brain to another, so we get some of the effects of meditation simply from being with nature.
I studied Zoology at University and I’m now an emotional coach, having studied Mental Health studies, Counselling Skills and NLP techniques. So I’m very passionate about how nature can help our mental health as it combines everything I’ve trained in.
Walk-and-talk therapy has become more popular and is called ‘ecotherapy’. People often feel less apprehensive or awkward outside, compared to a formal setting like a consultation room where you may be face to face with someone. Being side by side means less eye contact so people often feel less exposed so then they talk more openly. If someone doesn’t like crying in front of others, walking outdoors means they can look away and absorb the scenery. Walking in nature means that people can be silent without that uncomfortable feeling someone is watching and waiting for you to speak. Silence outdoors is natural and the setting provides so much else to fill the gap. And often, being quiet is crucial to the healing process. Nature is uplifting and enhances our ability to connect with our feelings and inner calm, leading to a more positive mood and way of thinking.
This Sunday 11th April is National Walking Day AND World Health Day, so perfect to combine the two in some ecotherapy. As restrictions ease, I’d love to do some of my coaching sessions outside!
I’ll end with a quote from one of my idols, David Attenborough: “15 mins a day simply sitting and watching wildlife boosts our well-being by giving us breathing space from the stresses of daily life”.