Therapedic | Blog - Science Behind Why Nature Sounds Help You Relax ...

Taking a lunch break in nature offers numerous benefits that can significantly enhance well-being and productivity. Immersing oneself in a natural setting, even for a short period, provides a refreshing escape from the often stressful work environment. The serene atmosphere, filled with greenery and natural sounds, helps reduce stress levels and clear the mind. This mental reset can lead to improved focus and creativity when returning to work. Additionally, exposure to natural light and fresh air can boost mood and energy levels, making the afternoon more productive and enjoyable. Overall, incorporating nature into your lunch break promotes better mental health, enhances cognitive function, and contributes to a more balanced and fulfilling workday.

Here below some ideas on how to make the most of your relaxing break:

Read a book or listen to an audio book

If you're interested in nature and rewilding, here are some of the best books on these subjects:

These books offer a mix of practical advice, personal narratives, and ecological insights, providing a comprehensive understanding of nature and the rewilding movement.

But remember a good novel will work just the same!

Listen to a podcast

Here are some popular UK-based podcasts about nature:

  • BBC Earth Podcast - This podcast explores fascinating stories and encounters with the natural world, often featuring expert guests and intriguing narratives.
  • Nature's Voice - Produced by the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds), this podcast covers various topics related to wildlife conservation and birdwatching in the UK.
  • The Wild with Chris Morgan - Though not exclusively UK-based, Chris Morgan, a British ecologist, shares compelling stories of wildlife and conservation from around the globe.
  • The Plodcast: Going Wild with BBC Countryfile Magazine - This podcast takes listeners on immersive audio adventures in the British countryside, exploring different aspects of rural life and nature.
  • Trees A Crowd - Hosted by David Oakes, this podcast features conversations with artists, scientists, and enthusiasts who have a passion for nature and conservation.
  • Call of the Wild - Presented by Springwatch’s Megan McCubbin and BBC Radio 1 presenter Sam McAlister, this WWF podcast discusses wildlife conservation and features interviews with experts and activists.
  • The Wildlife Explorer - Hosted by the Wildlife Trusts, this podcast shares stories about British wildlife, conservation efforts, and ways to connect with nature.
  • Living Beeing - A podcast by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust focusing on bumblebee conservation, pollinator health, and biodiversity in the UK.
  • Into the Wild - Hosted by Ryan Dalton, this podcast covers a wide range of wildlife topics, featuring interviews with naturalists, scientists, and conservationists.
  • Country Stride - This podcast celebrates the landscapes, culture, heritage, and wildlife of Cumbria and the Lake District, featuring walks and conversations with local experts and enthusiasts.

These podcasts offer a variety of perspectives on nature, conservation, and wildlife in the UK, providing listeners with engaging and informative content.

Write a letter or journal

Writing a letter or keeping a journal can be a profoundly rewarding practice, offering numerous benefits for your mental and emotional well-being. It allows for personal reflection, helping you process your thoughts and emotions, gain clarity, and reduce stress. Journaling can also serve as a creative outlet, fostering a deeper connection with your inner self. Writing letters, on the other hand, can strengthen relationships by providing a heartfelt way to communicate with loved ones, sharing experiences, and expressing gratitude. Both practices cultivate mindfulness, encourage self-discipline, and create a valuable record of your life journey that you can revisit and cherish over time.

Here some websites that might help you be consistent:

  • Penzu- This online journaling platform offers a secure and customizable journal experience. You can create multiple journals, add photos, and set reminders to help maintain a regular journaling habit.
  • Day One - Available as both a website and an app, Day One provides a clean, user-friendly interface for journaling. It includes features like photos, location tagging, and weather updates, as well as strong security measures to keep your entries private.
  • Journey - Journey is a cross-platform journaling app that allows you to write and access your journal from any device. It includes features such as mood tracking, photo attachments, and calendar integration.
  • 750 Words - This website encourages daily writing by challenging users to write 750 words each day. It focuses on helping you develop a consistent writing habit and provides analytics to track your progress.
  • Diaro - Diaro is a versatile journaling app that allows you to organize your entries with tags, locations, and photos. It also offers multilingual support and the ability to sync across devices.
  • Dabble Me - This unique journaling service sends you email prompts to encourage regular writing. You can reply directly to the email, and your response is saved as a journal entry on your private online journal.
  • These websites and apps offer a variety of features to suit different journaling styles and preferences, making it easier to start and maintain a journaling practice.
Meditate and practice mindfulness

Here are seven YouTube links to guided meditation and relaxation videos that are around 20 minutes long:

These videos offer a variety of meditation styles and purposes, helping you to relax, reduce stress, and find inner peace.

Practice the art of Japanese Forest Bathing

Japanese forest bathing, known as "Shinrin-yoku" (森林浴), is a practice that involves immersing oneself in a forest environment to promote physical and mental well-being. The term "Shinrin-yoku" translates to "forest bath" or "taking in the forest atmosphere." Developed in Japan in the 1980s, this practice encourages individuals to spend time in nature, engaging all their senses to experience the therapeutic benefits of the forest.

The key elements of Shinrin-yoku include:

  • Slow Walking: Strolling leisurely through the forest without a specific destination or goal, allowing time to connect with the natural surroundings.
  • Mindfulness: Being fully present in the moment, focusing on the sights, sounds, smells, and textures of the forest environment.
  • Deep Breathing: Practicing deep, slow breathing to enhance relaxation and oxygen intake.
  • Engaging the Senses: Touching the trees, listening to the rustling leaves, smelling the fresh forest air, and even tasting the clean air or edible plants, if safe.

Research has shown that Shinrin-yoku can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, improve mood, boost the immune system, and enhance overall well-being. The practice leverages the calming effects of nature and the phytoncides (natural aromatic compounds) released by trees, which have been found to have beneficial health effects.

Watch the clouds

Cloud-watching is a wonderfully simple and accessible way to relax and reconnect with the natural world. It requires no special equipment or preparation, just a willingness to lie back and gaze up at the sky. By observing the ever-changing formations and patterns of clouds, you can engage your imagination, find creative inspiration, and experience a profound sense of peace. This mindful activity encourages you to slow down, breathe deeply, and be present in the moment, offering a gentle escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Whether you’re identifying shapes in the clouds, contemplating their journey across the sky, or simply enjoying their beauty, cloud-watching provides a serene and rejuvenating break that can enhance your mental clarity and overall well-being. So next time you find a few spare moments, look up and let the clouds take you on a calming, imaginative journey.

Breathe and relax

Or simply breath and relax and take it all in!