Environmental Wellness - Connecting to Nature


Hey everyone, it’s Katharine! This week I’ll be talking about environmental wellness, specifically how connecting to nature can help us feel more well.

When you Google “How to reduce stress,” you’ll often get results that tell you to smell some lavender, eat dark chocolate, or even to take stress-reducing supplements along with your morning vitamins. The ways our society capitalizes on stress and our never-ending pursuit of wellness makes it easy for us to forget that sometimes being well can be as simple as spending time in nature.

In fact, studies have proven that access to nature reduces mortality and illness risk, alleviates stress, and heightens your personal sense of well-being.1

Spending time in nature can also have positive effects on your blood pressure, cholesterol, and outlook on life.2 Furthermore, it’s been shown to decrease your risk of mental illness, and researchers at Harvard Medical School have even announced that going outside can increase your ability to focus.3

So the next time you feel frustrated after studying for hours on end, or you’re sitting in your room stressed about the upcoming week, take some time for yourself to go outside. Taking a walk, bike ride, run, or simply resting outside can make you feel so much better.

We’re so lucky as students to be on a campus surrounded by nature. So if you only have a few minutes to spend soaking up the outdoors, here are some of my favorite spots on or near campus.

  • Clemson Dike

  • This is a beautiful flat trail along Lake Hartwell. The entrance is through a chain-link fence in front of the rowing facilities. It’s a great place to walk, run, or just sit and enjoy a stunning sunset.

  • Memorial Park

  • This is that small park in front of the stadium. It’s really underutilized and a great place if you need some peace and quiet.

  • Greenspace near the Reflection Pond

  • Lying in the grass near the Reflection Pond, or setting up a hammock on the trees near the elevator to Library Bridge is one of my favorite things to do when I have a break between classes.

  • Botanical Gardens

  • Off of Perimeter Road, the Botanical Gardens is an amazing resource for students. You might need more time to explore it than a few minutes in between classes, though.

  1. https://www.apha.org/policies-and-advocacy/public-health-policy-statements/policy-database/2014/07/08/09/18/improving-health-and-wellness-through-access-to-nature

  2. https://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/about/programs/gsv/pdfs/health_and_wellness.pdf

  3. https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/a-prescription-for-better-health-go-alfresco