The Nature Fix – Being Wild and Feeling Great!

With the world facing many unprecedented changes since the beginning of the year, and with much of the future faced with uncertainty – it is inevitable that our human emotions will be surrounded with negativity. Well, this has certainly been the case for me recently and to help mitigate the chances of these negative emotions taking over, I had acquired the best kind of treatment. This kind of treatment for me was none other than ‘The Nature Fix’, which I refer to as just being outdoors, surrounding yourself with nature, and taking a step back to just observe and listen to the environment around us.

A wealth of scientific studies (as seen in this review and its references) has demonstrated that nature experience is associated with psychological well-being, and exposure to green spaces, places of natural beauty and areas that contain biodiversity contribute towards our happiness. I can certainly put my money towards this being true, as during the last couple of months during the Coronavirus pandemic and the nations lockdown procedure, I have been getting my doses of Nature Fix’s and this has undoubtedly contributed towards a positive attitude, fulfilment and contributed somewhat to my happiness.

Holding a Oaktree leaf found at RSPB Highnam Woods, Gloucestershire

What have I been doing to obtain my Nature Fix?

I have been generally trying to incorporate every week with days where I can do something wildlife related, have some form of exercise and exposing myself to nature.

For example: some days I would just put my cycling gear on and cycle all around the British countryside of Gloucestershire to really release those endorphins. Other days I would walk around six to eight miles from home to a woodland area to observe wildlife and surround myself with the trees around me and escape the chaos occurring in the world, even if it was only for a short while. Some days I would just focus on wildlife photography and capture anything from bees pollinating on flowers to setting up camera traps to observe the nocturnal activity of hedgehogs.

Whatever I chose to do, I was confident that this Nature Fix was a healthy distraction and it was really contributing towards a healthy wellbeing. Finding ways to support good health and well-being is fundamental towards our own happiness, even more so if we want to live better, greener and more sustainable lives. This is in fact the third goal in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Without considering the importance of maintaining good health and wellbeing for ourselves, then it would be almost improbable to focus and contribute towards the health of our planet or possibly achieving the other Sustainable Development Goals.

Photography sessions in-between :Participating on my 8 mile trek from home to Highnam Woods.

Who can experience and feel The Nature Fix?

The great thing about nature is that it effortlessly offers its services to us for free and there are many benefits from surrounding ourselves around it.

From walking out of our houses and travelling to green spaces to observe wildlife and nature, to simply just looking through our binoculars at the regular songbirds that visit our gardens on a daily basis. These experiences are readily available for us to enjoy and all it takes sometimes is to just turn off from all of the distractions that our societies give us, and tune into the natural world. When we learn how to appreciate all that is around us, listen to trees blowing in the wind, the birds singing at dawn and dusk, the insect pollinators busily working to sustain life on Earth and more, only then will we realise how important it is to protect these natural places and its environmental services.

By protecting nature and the wildlife around us, we protect ourselves too in the process. Having a happy and healthy environment fundamentally contributes to our own happiness and that is the beauty of it!

Macro wildlife photography in our back garden. Bees among other insect pollinators provide excellent photographic models to capture on camera.

Connecting to nature will connect you to a heathier and happier version of yourself. Do try it sometime – grab your Nature Fix and feel great!

Tolga Aktas | Biologist, Writer & Environmental Photojournalist

>Animal Biology graduate< 

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