Reflecting Paradise: Nature Seychelles’ Green Health Programme
Does nature affect our health, our well being, our happiness and if it does to what degree? In what ways? Does it differ for different people and can we increase the benefits it may bring?
Studies show that nature has huge positive benefits for people. Simply walking in natural surroundings can be beneficial. Researchers at the University of Michigan (UoM) found that walking in a park in any season, or even viewing pictures of nature, can help improve memory and attention. Psychology researchers Marc Berman, John Jonides and Stephen Kaplan at UoM found memory performance and attention spans improved by 20 percent after people spent only one hour interacting with nature.
These researchers believe the findings could have broader impact on helping people who may be suffering from mental fatigue. The researchers believe that people are far more likely to be satisfied with their lives when their environment supports three basic needs: the ability to understand and explore; to feel they make a difference;and to feel competent and effective.
Groundbreaking research by Professor Jules Pretty of the University of Essex shows that exercising in nature has huge individual and social benefits. Ninety percent of those participating showed increased self esteem. Seventy one percent reported decreased levels of anxiety and the same percentage said they felt less tense.
Now based on this and other researches, Nature Seychelles has began a programme to help people interact with nature while also participating in activities that help nature. We hope to make a new and valuable contribution to the well being of society by reconnecting people with themselves and with nature. The programme aims specifically to make use of our surroundings here at Nature Seychelles, the Heritage Garden, and the wetland, Sanctuary at Roche Caiman, as well as the beautiful nature that surrounds us in Mahe.
The programme will give people the opportunity explore every aspect of their well being while appreciating and giving back to nature. The programme combines yoga and fitness in natural surroundings, with conservation
activities. We are using nature as the pivot for all activities. The Sanctuary and Heritage Garden have developed through the help of people and they still need continued support. Through the Green Health Programme people will be able to keep fit while exploring new areas of the Reserve and improving it for the wildlife and all the visitors to come. They will finish fitter and stronger with a sense of well being knowing that they have aided in something good and others will reap the benefits of their work.
Already one activity has been started and that is yoga. Some of the well known benefits of yoga are being calmer, more relaxed, improving concentration as well as physically becoming stronger and more flexible. We have had a great response to our sessions. Many people who have walked through our door are saying they were not aware something so beautiful existed here. During the sessions, people are encouraged to become aware of the sounds of nature around them, feel the breeze against their skin, open their eyes and take in the majesty of the mountains before them.
You can contact Roxanne firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to join the morning or evening Green Exercise and Green Yoga sessions.