Bore Place Director Caroline talks at TEDx in Tunbridge Wells

Posted by Caroline Arnold on 06th December 2016

This October in Tunbridge Wells...

In October this year I took the plunge and did a TEDx talk at a local event in Tunbridge Wells titled Get back to Nature for Good Mental Health. This was the most terrifying thing I have done for a while but also, as these things can be, one of the most rewarding.

It's not often we get reason (or time!) to stop and think about why we are doing what we do. Preparing this talk gave me a golden opportunity to do just that.

A bit of background on TED and TEDx

Locally based TEDx events have developed as an off shoot from the internationally recognised TED movement. TED is a non-profit organisation which aims to spread ideas, usually in the form of short talks (18 minutes or less). It began in 1984 as a conference which brought together the worlds of Technology, Entertainment and Design. Today’s talks cover a far wider range of topics and locally organised TEDx events provide a platform for the sharing of ideas at community level.

TEDx stageAudience at TEDx Tunbridge Wells

What did I talk about?

The key idea I wanted to get across was my gut feeling that our disconnection with nature is resulting in us being ‘fish out of water’, no longer living in our natural habitat as human beings are meant to. This has resulted in an increase in the stresses and strains of daily life, all of which I believe have a knock on effect on our mental health. We need to reconnect with the natural world in order to reconnect with ourselves and others.

The way we live now...

Mental ill health is clearly now firmly on the agenda – both nationally and globally.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is predicting that by 2020 the second largest illness, globally, will be depression, and world leaders are recognising the promotion of mental health and well-being as a health priority within the global development agenda  mental health has been included in the UN Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015.

So, the question is what can we do in our own lives to promote our own mental health?

I firmly believe being connected to the natural world benefits mental health.

Autumn fields and trees at Bore PlaceBird on tree at Bore Place

I experience this in my private life by spending time outside daily to help me disconnect from every day pressures of life, having recognised its magic I now have moved out into the countryside so all my family can benefit and I am fortunate in my professional life to be working at Bore Place, an organisation where we have the chance to live and breathe this every day! Much of what we do at Bore Place – Grow to Grow work with young people, our work with local schools and colleges and also the experience visitors have when using our venue – is about reconnecting people to nature. This is turn fosters reconnection to ourselves and others as human beings.

So, if I had to prescribe some good mental health I would say take 5 minutes today, and every day, to get outside – a park, a garden, a field, a local “green” spot and inhabit the space.  

Take the time to look, listen and feel. Use nature as a tool, because it really will help you!

A big thanks to the TEDx Tunbridge Wells team for the opportunity to share my ideas. If you’d like to listen to my talk, please click here.

Speakers clapping at TEDx event in Tunbridge Wells

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