Kerry Lifeline

The Great Outdoors


Nature has the ability to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. A walk in the park, along the beach or simply sitting in your garden relaxing, can calm the mind, boost energy levels and restore awareness of the self and others. Being outside in the daylight, amongst nature appreciating the environment and our surroundings can afford someone the opportunity to contemplate matters, see the bigger picture and gain perspective on the context of their world. We can adopt a holistic approach to good health by including the experience of nature, the great outdoors, alongside exercise, good diet and healthy fulfilling friendships and relationships. I like the term “rest and digest” when I think of nature. It reminds me to absorb and appreciate what it has to offer without having to over think it. Being too analytical and pensive is often the root cause of anxiety and stress. Nature has a way of keeping us present, in the moment, whilst at the same time helping us process our thoughts and feelings in a manner that is less intense and more inviting; after all it is available at any time to all of us!

Investing more in nature means investing more in our emotional and mental wellbeing, our immune system, and in our physical wellbeing. In addition, any group based activities that involve the outdoors such as walking/ jogging groups, mountain climbing groups, swimming groups can not only reduce chronic diseases via the physical benefits but improve social interaction and thus interpersonal relationships. The extra bonus however is that nature can stimulate our senses whether it is sight, sounds or smells. The impact of outdoor activity on our psychological wellbeing has been scientifically proven. Many studies report reduced states of depression and anxiety by individuals who have chosen to embrace the outdoors as a lifestyle choice. Nature has a way of calming the mind and restoring energy for some individuals so ruling out its benefits entirely would be a pity. It can help us escape our busy, demanding lives if we can only take the time to embrace it, enjoy it and become energized by it. This decision does not have to be a daily endeavour; in fact three to four times a week outdoors, whether it is walking, cycling or simply enjoying sitting in your garden, to have time out and head space, can go a long way in recharging your energy levels and aid in the process of your thoughts and feelings. Whilst it is only one piece of the jigsaw towards self-care, it is nevertheless an important one. As Albert Einstein once said;

“Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”

SouthWest Counselling Centre Killarney provides affordable professional counselling to children, adolescents adults and couples – both at its Killarney Centre (Lewis Road) and at Kenmare Family Centre.


Kerry LifeLine provides FREE counselling and support to anyone feeling suicidal or bereaved through suicide.   

To make an appointment call 064 6636416/064 66364100

 SouthWest Counselling Centre is a not-for-profit organization. All funds raised through fundraising go directly to service provision

Limited spaces available for the Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle 2016. Please email for details.