Gather Magazine

Gather Issue 3

Gather 3 Cover

It’s a well-known universal truth that spending time in nature is calming, grounding and restorative. Why is that the case? Because your environment – what you see, hear and feel at any given moment – affects you. Often we don’t pay full attention to the spaces we inhabit, but that doesn’t mean what’s there isn’t having an impact. Whatever your age or background, you are genetically programmed to find nature relaxing.

It soothes your emotions, lifts your mood, sharpens your focus, lowers blood pressure and calms your nervous system. Studies have also shown that people living in an environment with trees and green space connect better with neighbours, are more concerned with supporting one another and feel a greater sense of belonging.

Working in wildness, then, can be a powerfully transformative experience, whether that’s weaving baskets, creating natural dyes or volunteering on an organic farm in return for food and board. Syncing with daily and seasonal rhythms, adapting and responding to our environment and working with our hands is the way we were naturally designed to live, but we move further and further away from it. The average Briton spends 90% of their time indoors, yet nature is on our doorstep. So why not try going off-grid, rambling, wild swimming, learn bushcraft skills, foraging, crafting or gardening? As author Charlotte Eriksson said: ‘There’s a whole world out there, right outside your window. You’d be a fool to miss it.’