Beauty /ˈbjuːti/ noun
A combination of qualities that pleases the senses
I write this blog just at the start of autumn in the UK, one of my favourite times of year. The trees start so show us the passage of time and present the beautiful colour palettes of red, amber, yellows and browns, as they start their journey into dormancy ready for the winter. Whilst in the UK this season is known as Autumn I've always also rather liked the US term of 'fall' as it neatly represents for me the wonderful gentle falling of the leaves from the trees gently to the ground. There is something truly magical about just being outdoors, breathing deeply and stopping to listen to the world around us.
I found it interesting recently to read a study defining the benefits of spending time in nature. In 2019, White et al published a study in Nature suggesting that spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing, and this was true whether this time was achieved in one long or several shorter visits/week.
One of the ways I like to bring time with nature into my routine, particularly at this time of year, is to take a moment out of busy days to wander into the green spaces around the campus where I work.
I feel very lucky to work on a University campus where there are the most beautiful gardens. Even within a city university where the sounds of nature can be hidden somewhat by the hum of traffic and the busy life continuing all around, one can relax into these green spaces, lose ourselves, and allow our body and mind to take a much needed pause.
One of the other wonderful things about these spaces is they are different between institutions, some gardens, others lakes; some openly visible to all and others hidden in cloisters or behind walls. Beautiful 'secret' spaces to relax in, but importantly often open to staff, students and the public.
So take a moment this autumn to discover the beautiful natural spaces on your campus.
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Links to further reading:
Read about the mental health benefits of nature and gives tips and ideas to try from Mind, a UK based charity providing advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/nature-and-mental-health/how-nature-benefits-mental-health/
White, M.P., Alcock, I., Grellier, J. et al (2019). Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing. Sci Rep 9, 7730 . https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-44097-3