The writer, Emma Mitchell, takes Clare Balding for a walk around the woods near her house and explains why exposure to the natural world can have a mood-lifting effect on us all.
The writer, Emma Mitchell, takes Clare Balding for a walk around the woods at the back of her house in Cambridgeshire and explains why exposure to the natural world can have a mood-lifting effect on us all.
While acknowledging that she relies on antidepressants and talking cures to prevent her depression from becoming overwhelming, she says that walking several times a week, even on days when she feels well, has a cumulative effect and helps to make the dips in her mood less vertiginous.
She says “For me, taking a daily walk among plants and trees is as medicinal as any talking cure or pharmaceutical”. But it’s not just because she has a “fondness for looking at bonny bosky views” rather, she says “I am experiencing real physiological responses that affect my body and mind”.
As they walk, Emma explains to Clare why they both feel their stress levels falling... it’s not just the physical act of walking, it could be, partly, because they’re breathing the volatile compounds and oils emitted by the plants and trees that surround them. Emma discusses this and other ideas that she explores in her book The Wild Remedy.
She also talks about her cow parsley tattoo...
If you're reading this on the Radio 4 webpage, please scroll down for photos from the walk of hibernating ladybirds, Annie the Lurcher and Emma's tattoo...
There is also a link to the Woodland Trust page for Reach Wood, where we walked. Also more detail on Emma's book.
NB: If you are feeling emotionally distressed and would like details of organisations which offer advice and support, go online to bbc.co.uk/actionline or you can call for free, at any time to hear recorded information 0800 066 066.
Producer: Karen Gregor