People who experience nature are happiest, says Happiness Report
The report, known as the Happiness Index, was carried out by the Office of National Statistics, and launched by the government to find out what they can do to improve lives.
The report provides a refreshing alternative to the traditional national statistics reports (e.g. Gross Domestic Product) which focus on household income, employment, health and education as a means to determine national success.
The Happiness Index places a greater emphasis on national well being. The questions in the report are designed provide a more in depth overview of what makes really Britons happy. Questions included:
Are you satisfied with life?
Are you satisfied with your husband, wife or partner?
Are you happy in your job?Do you feel involved in your neighbourhood?
How often do you visit nature?
Topping the happiness scale in England, was the small county of Rutland, famed for its beautiful countryside and scenic water reservoir. With over 80 percent of people living in Rutland reporting the highest happiness levels (between 7-10) on a scale of 0-10.
This followed a trend of rural or seaside counties consistently scoring highly in the happiness ratings.
Although all of us might not be lucky enough to live in the countryside or by the sea, there’s nothing to stop us reaping the benefits of nature at home!
Dr D.R.Hamilton in his book, Why Kindness is Good for You, explains how thinking about something and doing something can have the same effect on your brain.
He uses the simple example of moving our little finger. If we spent an hour moving our little finger back and forth, the part of our brain responsible for moving our little finger will have grown. However, new research shows that if we were to just think about moving our finger back and forth for the same amount of time, the same part of our brain -that responsible for moving our little finger, will have also grown! (Why Kindness is Good for You, p.54).
Thinking the same thought or stimulating the same part of the brain (as in the part responsible for kindness), will over a period of time create new pathways in our brain, to make that thought, action or feeling come more naturally.
The Relax Kids Nature CD gives children a chance to experience nature at home. The tracks on this CD will help children feel amazing, by releasing the same positive endorphins as a trip to the sea side, while teaching them important relaxation techniques that will help them manage their emotions as they journey through life.
Try reading this visualisation at home with your child:
Close your eyes, be very still and imagine you are lying down on the beach.
Feel the warm sand underneath your body.
You can hear the waves of the sea.
Now very gently you are going to relax each part of your body.
Start with your feet, let your toes completely relax and become soft. Let this feeling spread gently through your feet. Now squeeze your legs and gently let them go. Feel all the tension in your legs being released as they become relaxed and soft.
Squeeze the muscles in your tummy and let go completely.
Stretch your back as long as you can and relax.
Can you feel your back sinking into the sand?
Now let your shoulders and neck become soft, as all the tension melts away.
Squeeze your arms as tight as you can and let them go.
Allow your arms to feel heavy as they sink into the sand.
Squeeze your fingers into a tight fist, and now uncurl them slowly and rest them on the golden sand.
Scrunch your face into a tiny ball and let go and relax.
Let your head completely relax: relax your eyes, your ears, your cheeks, your forehead.
Become completely still and relaxed.
Feel the warm sun on your face and body as you sink further into the powdery sand.
Stay there for a few more moments, enjoying the feeling of being completely relaxed.
For more visualisations like this one, try our Nature CD, with 16 relaxing nature visualisations, including flying like a bird, floating down a river, and stars in the sky.