Nature and psychology

Archive content on the psychological impact of being in nature.

10 May 2021

Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 has the theme ‘nature’, to highlight the role that connecting with nature can have on our mental health. Over the years we’ve published fascinating articles on the link between psychology and nature. Here’s a selection, plus a few from elsewhere… 

‘The planting puts new life into me’
Jenny Walters on a gardening project with victims of torture

Cultivating wellbeing and mental health through gardening
Vaithehy Shanmuganathan-Felton, Luke Felton, Celia Briseid and Betty Maitland

‘We are busy about everything’
Gardening is in Claudia Hammond’s top three restful activities

A world without trees?
Abreen Rebello listens to Forest 404 by BBC Sounds

An awakening
Steve Taylor on a type of experience he feels has been neglected by psychology

Windows on our inner and outer worlds
Psychologists reflect on their internal lives… including the impact of nature and gardening 

'Awepic' stories of greenery and the good life
Emma Davies on green exercise, volunteering in nature-based settings and more

Community garden big picture by Nigel Pugh
The benefits of allotments and community gardens for older gardeners

Conservation work – a therapeutic intervention?
Rosemary Wright on the benefits of a conservation project as a form of therapy for people with learning disabilities

Action on climate change
A collection of recent articles on the role of psychology in tackling climate change

We’ve also covered some relevant studies over on our Research Digest:

Despite anxiety about Covid-19, climate change remains a key concern in the UK
Emily Reynolds

Pro-environmental beliefs are less likely to lead to action among those who believe in a controlling god
Emma Young

You don’t have to climb a mountain for a “peak experience” in nature to be life-changing 
Emma Young

People who feel connected to nature are more prone to “electrosensitivity”
Christian Jarrett 

And we’ve found these interesting pieces elsewhere:

Nature is good for you. That doesn’t mean we should prescribe it
Jeremy Mynott for Psyche

Could psychedelics help us resolve the climate crisis?
Matthew Adams for The Conversation

Nurtured by nature
Kirsten Weir for Monitor

How being in nature makes us appreciate our bodies and reject unrealistic beauty standards
Viren Swami for The Conversation

Plus a podcast episode by Roots and All with Harriet Gross on the psychology of gardening