Have you ever noticed how tranquil and at ease your mind feels when you’re surrounded by the beauty of nature?


Every year, on June 5th, millions around the globe come together to celebrate World Environment Day, a significant occasion dedicated to raising awareness and taking action to protect our planet. This year’s theme, “Land Restoration, Desertification, and Drought Resilience,” underscores the urgent need to restore degraded lands and enhance our resilience against the growing threats of desertification and drought. As we focus on healing the Earth, it’s essential to recognise the profound connection between the outdoors our own mental well-being.

The Healing Power of Nature

The natural world provides more than just physical sustenance; it can give you profound mental health benefits. How, you might be wondering? By being in nature, and going the next step to take care of our environment (especially focusing on land restoration), you can enhance your own mental well-being.

Let’s uncover how –

  1. Feeling Less Stressed and Anxious: Have you ever noticed how spending time outdoors in fresh air can make you feel so much calmer and at ease? Whether it’s going for a hike, planting trees or bringing life back to barren areas, being in nature is like therapy for your mind. It helps lower cortisol levels, which is the hormone that causes stress, making you feel more relaxed and less anxious.
  2. Feeling Happier and Clear-headed: Ever felt a boost in your mood and mental clarity after spending time outdoors? Activities like gardening, taking walks in green spaces, or joining community clean-up efforts can do wonders for your happiness and thinking ability. That’s because they increase the levels of serotonin and endorphins in your brain, making you feel happier with increased focus.
  3. Finding Purpose and Satisfaction: Have you ever felt a deep sense of accomplishment from playing a part to help restore nature? When you get involved in projects to revive the environment, it gives you a real sense of purpose and fulfillment. Seeing the positive changes you’ve made in a once-degraded ecosystem can boost your self-esteem and make you feel more positive about life in general.

The Psychological Impact of Land Degradation

On the flip side, environmental degradation can have a severe impact on mental health. The loss of green spaces, increasing pollution, and the looming threat of climate change can lead to:

  • Eco-anxiety and Feelings of Helplessness: The growing awareness of environmental crises can lead to eco-anxiety, characterised by chronic fear of ecological disaster. The degradation of land and the threat of drought exacerbate feelings of helplessness and despair. Active participation in restoration projects can counteract these feelings by providing a sense of control and proactive engagement.
  • Disconnection from Nature: Modern lifestyles often lead to a disconnection from nature, contributing to what some term “nature deficit disorder.” This disconnection can result in increased stress, anxiety, and depression. Restoring and protecting natural landscapes create more opportunities for individuals to reconnect with the outdoors, mitigating these negative effects.

Actionable Steps You Can Take This World Environment Day

Here are some actionable steps to celebrate World Environment Day and enhance your mental well-being:

  • Participate in Local Restoration Projects: Join community efforts to plant trees, clean up rivers, or restore local parks. These activities not only help the environment but also offer a sense of accomplishment and connection.
  • Create a Green Space at Home: Even if you can’t participate in large-scale projects, you can contribute by planting a garden, starting a compost pile, or creating a green balcony. These small acts can improve your immediate environment and provide a peaceful space for relaxation.
  • Advocate for Environmental Policies: Support policies and initiatives that protect natural spaces and promote sustainability. Being active in advocacy can reduce feelings of helplessness and increase a sense of control for your future.
  • Educate and Raise Awareness: Share information about the importance of ecosystem restoration and its benefits for mental health with friends and family. Knowledge is empowering and can inspire others to take action. You could for example, SHARE THIS ARTICLE on your socials with friends.

As we celebrate World Environment Day let’s remember that taking care of our planet is intrinsically linked to taking care of ourselves. By engaging in ecosystem restoration, we not only heal the Earth but also nurture our mental well-being. This World Environment Day, let’s commit to actions that benefit both our environment and our mental health, creating a healthier, happier world for all.

Written by Rebecca Deane – Clinical Psychologist – Creating Change Psychology

Psychology support in the Hills District, Western Sydney & Surrounds (including Rouse Hill, Bella Vista, Glenwood, Castle Hill, Kellyville, The Hawkesbury, Penrith Nepean, Blacktown, Epping, Ryde, Pennant Hills areas and surrounds)