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NATURE BASED

INTERVENTIONS FOR

ORGANISATIONS

View from the wild swimming pond on the

Broughton Hall Estate

What are
Nature Based Interventions?

What are Nature Based Interventions?

Nature Based Interventions (NBIs) are planned, intentional activities to promote individuals’ optimal functioning, health and well-being or to enable restoration and recovery through exposure to or interaction with either authentic or technological nature. NBIs can be grouped into three categories:

  • Green exercise: defines the synergy of physical activity and natural environment

  • Nature savouring: defined as mindfully noticing and attending nature while regulating the emotional impact of positive events by one’s cognitive or behavioural response

  • Green office space: comprises interior landscaping interventions that aim to transform the design of workplaces by enriching plants and other natural features.

Why Nature Based Interventions
are needed now for your workforce

Why Nature Based Interventions are needed now for your workforce

 

Mental health in the workplace is even more of an issue these days due to the changing and challenging circumstances brought on by the COVID pandemic.  

  • Loneliness: Remote working is making people feel disconnected from co-workers and the rest of the world leading to feelings of loneliness

  • Stress: Employees working from home are juggling childcare or caring for somebody who is vulnerable

  • Anxiety: Furloughed employees on reduced income are anxious about their financial wellbeing

  • Pressure: The boundaries between home and work are becoming blurred; people are not switching-off

The Solution: There is widespread agreement about the favourable effects of nature exposure and consequently, nature-based interventions (NBI) for employees have been proposed as a cost-effective approach to promote good health among employees. 

The legal case: Why employers
need to consider Nature Based Interventions
for the workforce.

The legal case: Why employers need to consider Nature Based Interventions for the workforce.

 

  • The challenging landscape created by COVID means that the mental health and wellbeing of staff has never been a more important consideration for employers.

  • To comply with their statutory and common law duties towards their employees, employers should be considering whether any mental health support mechanisms provided for staff are adequate and how these can be improved upon.

  • A number of research studies have found consistent evidence for the effectiveness and appropriateness of NBIs as a novel approach for varied states of ill health (mental and attentional fatigue, symptoms of depression, mood disturbances). 

  • These positive effects  include: greater feelings of revitalisation, positive engagement, energy, reduced tension, confusion, anger, and depression

Attention Restoration Theory
& Stress Reduction Theory:
How Nature Based Interventions improve cognitive performance and reduce stress

How Nature Based Interventions improve cognitive performance and reduce stress

 

Two main theories, attention restoration theory (ART) and stress reduction theory (SRT) outline a critical role for nature contact in terms of mental health.

ART

  • A prolonged focus on demanding (work) leads to mental fatigue and impairs cognitive and physical performance.

  • Natural stimuli attract spontaneous interest and enable restoration, i.e. renewal of depleted resources (e.g., capacity of directed attention).

  • Restoration refers to feeling refreshed, recovered focus and attention  coupled with positive emotions, and low levels of stress and arousal. 

SRT

  • Elucidates the restorative impacts of nature on effective functioning (i.e. eudaimonic well-being) and emotional well-being (i.e. hedonic well-being).

  • According to the theory, as a result of evolutionary development, individuals have an innate predisposition to automatically and immediately exhibit positive affect toward natural, vegetation-rich environments resulting in stress-reducing psychophysiological responses.

A Typical Programme

(Can be adapted to suit requirements)

Day One: 

 

13.00 - 13.30: Registration

14.00 - 14.30: Welcome and Orientation

15.00 - 17.45: Forest Bathing (Nature Savouring NBI)

17.45 - 19:00: Free Time / Avalon Wellbeing Centre

19:00 - 20:30 Dinner in Utopia

20:30: Free Time/ End of Day One

Typical Full Day (1, 2 or 3 days)

 

7.00 - 7.45: Outdoor Movement (Green exercise NBI)

08.00 - 09:00: Breakfast

09:15- 11:45: Forest Bathing (Nature Savouring NBI)

12:00 - 13.00: Free Time

13:00 - 14:00 Lunch in Utopia

14:00 - 17:00: Meetings / Avalon Wellbeing Centre

17:15 - 18:45: Outdoor Activity (see below)

19:00 - 20:00: Dinner

20:00 - 21:00: Fire Temple

Outdoor Activities

 

A range of outdoor activities are available to suit your requirements including: 

  • Wild Swimming

  • Sweat Lodge

  • Foraging

  • Moorland Hiking

  • Mindful Walks in Nature

  • Medicinal Herb Walk

Avalon Wellbeing Centre

A range of therapeutic options are available to suit your requirements including: 

  • Indoor Pool and Jacuzzi 

  • Steam Room & Sauna

  • Reflexology & Reike

  • Somadome Meditation 

  • Massage

  • Sound healing

Avalon Wellbeing Centre is a unique, state of the art facility. 

What do we offer?

Nature Based Intervention 

Away Days/ Team Building Days for:

  • Groups of 6 - 20 people

  • One-to-one

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Where?

Broughton Hall Estate,

Skipton, North Yorkshire

 

  • A wondrous 3000 acre mix of rolling meadow pastures, ancient woodland, heather moorland, wild reservoirs and meandering rivers.

  • A selection of outstanding places to stay.

If your team can't make it to Yorkshire, we also offer:

Virtual Forest Bathing Walks

  • Groups of 6 - 20 people

  • One-to-one

A great way to bring your team together virtually and experience the benefits of nature connection. 

Why Nature Based Intervention?

 

Stress & Anxiety Relief

Time spent in nature lowers the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline

The nervous system is made up of the sympathetic nervous system (also known as  the 'fight or flight' part) and the parasympathetic system (or the 'rest and recover' part).

When we are stressed either on our way to work navigating traffic, dealing with crowded trains or waiting for the bus or train in the rain, or at work with urgent emails to deal with, a backlog of calls to return or with deadlines looming, our fight or flight response will start up.

Our heart beats faster, our blood pressure increases, our digestion slows down and the stress hormone cortisol is released. 

The good news....

Studies have found that time spent in nature:

  • Lowers the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline

  • Suppresses the sympathetic nervous system (the 'fight or flight' mode)

 

  • Enhances the parasympathetic or rest and recover system

 

  • Lowers blood pressure 

How does forest bathing reduce stress and anxiety?

On a forest bathing walk, Liz offers a series of invitations that are designed to support sensory connection to the natural environment. An example invitation is: 

To listen to the sounds of the forest for about 10 or 15 minutes

  • The sounds of nature are a link to the environment and to ourselves and in the forest, we can learn once again to listen to the landscape we were built to hear. Immersed in nature, we are in a restorative sonic landscape.

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  • Being still and quiet, we begin to relax.

 

  • Many studies have shown that the sounds of nature relieve stress as they decrease the functioning of the body's sympathetic nervous system ('fight or flight') and increase the parasympathetic nervous system ('rest and recover').

 

  • In addition, studies have shown that when we listen to natural sounds, we turn our attention outwards as opposed to an inward focus which happens when we listen to artificial sounds (inward-focus attention is associated with worry and brooding).

 

  • The sounds of nature we most like are : water, wind, bird chatter and birdsong and we are most sensitive to sounds between the frequencies of 2,500 and 3,500 hertz...the range between which birds sing.

Why are sensory connection invitations offered on a forest bathing walk to relieve stress and anxiety?

When we are experiencing through our senses, we are fully present. We can sense something only now. Of course, we can imagine what something sounds or feels like in the future or in the past, but in those scenarios, we are not directly sensing; only imagining sensing which we do through our minds. 

Another word for experiencing through our senses is embodiment and it's when we are in a state of embodiment that we begin the drop the masks we wear, the roles we play; we experience just being, here and now. We are not getting stressed about the the things we need to do, or worrying about things that have happened in the past.  Self-judgement and critical analysis fall away and we begin to be ourselves naturally; we begin to experience peace of mind.

Attention Restoration Theory

Many studies reveal that time spent in nature has positive effects on

attention, cognitive performance, emotions, mood and behaviour. 

One of these studies is Attention Restoration Theory as proposed by Rachel and Stephen Kaplan.

The Kaplans suggested that there are four cognitive states towards cognitive restoration:

  1. Clearer head, or concentration

  2. Mental fatigue recovery

  3. Soft fascination, or interest

  4. Reflection and restoration

How Forest Bathing Incorporates Attention Restoration Theory

 

States One & Two 

  • Liz offers invitations that help participants shift their attention away from cognitive processes that require 'voluntary' or 'directed' attention, the type of attention we use at work, or driving or navigating along a busy street.  Thoughts, worries and concerns of everyday life are slowly relinquished as participants begin to slow down and experience the natural environment through their senses.

State Three

  • During the next stage of a forest bathing walk, participants engage  with low stimulation invitations. Awareness has now shifted from voluntary or directed attention to 'involuntary' attention which is sometimes called soft fascination.  Involuntary attention requires no mental effort, it just comes naturally. This is the kind of attention we use when we are in nature, when we effortlessly notice the  movement of leaves in the breeze, the sound of the birds or the water gently flowing in a brook. 

  • These soothing sights and sounds give our mental resources a break.  They allow our minds to wander and to reflect, and so restore our capacity to think more clearly. 

State Four

  • The final stage of Kaplan's theory is reached once participants have spent a prolonged amount of time in a natural, restorative environment.  There is time for relaxation, restoration of attention and some life reflection. This tends to be during the final part of the forest bathing walk..during and after the tea ceremony.