Immersing ourselves in realistic programmes about the natural world has been shown to have positive effects on our wellbeing and, in particular, research has shown that looking at pictures of the natural world can have a calming effect.
Here are five ideas for images of nature that can be used to promote emotional wellbeing.
- A screen – search free picture sites and use search engines to find images
- A scrap book – make a scrapbook of nature pictures and remember to give opportunities to enjoy looking at it and sharing with others when complete.
- Make a collage of nature images
- Put pictures on the wall – either temporarily or permanently
- Provide opportunities for sitting or standing by any windows that afford views of nature
What you need
- A source of nature pictures – these can be found online or in magazines and books or you could take photographs of local nature.
- One of the following:
- A screen e.g. laptop, ipad, tablet, phone, projector screen or tv
- A scrapbook
- A large piece of paper or card, scissors and glue
- Posters or pictures for hanging on the wall
- Suitable seating and cushioning affording views out of a window
Guidance and instructions
- Pictures of nature include those of trees, fields, plants and flowers, scenery, water and animals. Think about whether the person you are supporting has shown any preferences in the past, either in ‘real life’ or when looking at images. This will help you offer images that are most likely to be enjoyed and beneficial.
- You can also support the person in making choices about which pictures they like to look at by searching for and looking at images together. Remember not to offer too many at one time and to give plenty of time for observing, taking in and processing the image.
- Think about size of the pictures and positioning. Is a large screen or large poster sized picture necessary for the person to be able to see or does this give better impact? Is a handheld device better so that it can be positioned in the optimum spot.
- Consider whether still or moving images may be preferred?
- Consider whether any particular images may evoke memories and what impact those memories may have.
- Allow plenty of time to take in the picture, process it and enjoy it. Be guided by responses as to when to move on. It is easy to underestimate the amount of time that we need to allow people to immerse themselves and really benefit from an experience.
The BBC website has moving images of the natural world which you can find by clicking here.
What to observe, assess and record
- How the person is before viewing the pictures and any changes you notice during and after.
- Any signs of enjoyment, pleasure, relaxation, agitation, like or dislike for a particular image/s?
- Observe and respond to any vocalisations, body movements, facial expressions, postures and micro-movements, micro-expressions and micro-postures that indicate the person’s internal state.
- What do you feel worked and/or didn’t work? If you find an image that seems to be relaxing and or enjoyed, let others know so that it can be offered as and when needed or wanted. You may also like to consider putting any clear favourites on the wall so that they can be seen regularly.
© Julie Calveley, PhD, BSc(Hons) Psychology, Registered Nurse Learning Disabilities, NAC Director
Email: [email protected]
Created May 2021