Home Health Connect with nature: The ultimate prescription for well-being

Connect with nature: The ultimate prescription for well-being

by Tania Griffin

Feeling overwhelmed by life’s demands? Is the constant juggle of work, family and relationships leaving you feeling like you are just keeping your head above water? According to research, the solution is simple: spend more time in nature.

“Sounds easy enough, yet many of us just don’t do it,” says Orrin Cottle, CEO of Brahman Hills, home to luxury accommodation and international award-winning gardens in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. “In fact, some of us have gardens in our backyards (and even at our place of work) and despite this, we can’t find the time to simply ‘stop and smell the roses’.”

He adds, “That is why we need to be deliberate about taking the time to disconnect from the pressures of life and reconnect with nature. Booking a weekend away – whether it be in the idyllic Midlands, bushveld, beach or berg – can do wonders for our mental, emotional and physical well-being.”

And, science backs this up. Cottle says numerous studies show that spending time in nature can:

  • lower stress and help you relax: Have you ever noticed how the moment you step outside and take a deep breath of fresh air, your whole body hits the reset button and you instantly relax? That’s because spending time in gardens, parks, forests or near the water not only lowers cortisol (the stress hormone) levels but also reduces your heart rate and blood pressure, contributing to an overall sense of relaxation.
  • improve well-being and promote happiness: Being outdoors encourages movement and exercise, whether it’s hiking, cycling or simply taking a stroll in gardens like those found at Brahman Hills. And, exercise releases endorphins (neurotransmitters that promote feelings of happiness and well-being).
  • restore concentration and improve creativity: The beauty of natural landscapes can induce feelings of awe, wonder and inspiration. Research suggests that experiencing the beauty of nature can enhance cognitive function and creativity, contributing to improved concentration and problem-solving abilities.

It is with this in mind that Cottle considers himself fortunate to have his workplace nestled in the Midlands. Stepping out of his office door, he is greeted by lush flora and fauna, alongside rolling hills and 26 award-winning garden rooms – a privilege he doesn’t take for granted. Even on his toughest workdays, he says he finds solace in strolling through the gardens.

Interestingly, while nature in itself offers incredible benefits, the Brahman Hills gardens were purposefully designed to amplify those effects. Every element of the gardens was meticulously crafted to not only capture the eye and captivate the soul but also to enhance the serenity of the surroundings. From the sunlight filtering through the leaves to the vibrant colours, every detail was carefully planned to cultivate a sanctuary of peace.

“And, a sanctuary it is!” says Tanya Visser, renowned garden guru. “If you are seeking a place of respite, a place where you can unwind, de-stress and just ‘breathe’ – whether it be for a day, a weekend or longer – try Brahman Hills.”

If you would like to escape to a haven of serenity and experience the extraordinary, book your spot for the Brahman Hills Experience from 10 to 12 May 2024.

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