Being out in nature improves wellbeing
A QUEENSTOWN photographer who has lived with depression for the past decade has revealed how being immersed in nature helps him improve his mental wellbeing.
In recent years, Simon Williams (44) has discovered the power wellness tools and the great outdoors to better understand his own feelings.
His love of photography, coupled with his focus on the ‘‘five steps to mental wellbeing’’, had had a major impact on his ability to deal with depression, which first struck in his mid30s, he said.
‘‘Being open and honest has helped me and those around me.
‘‘It’s just about surrounding myself with nature.
‘‘That can be as simple as standing under a tree in town and just observing or just taking myself into the back country for a day.’’
He explained how sharing his work on Instagram and using other techniques helped him achieve a more positive state of mind.
By taking selfies and putting words to each picture he was able to become more in touch with his emotions.
The five steps to mental wellbeing he tries to keep in mind in his daily life are connecting with people, learning, being selfaware, being active and giving to others.
‘‘It does help — it’s not an instant fix.’’
A photograph taken by Williams of a mountain biker in Wanaka has been published in a newly released book by Nikon — I Am New Zealand: Aotearoa Through Many Eyes.
He said looking back on the photoshoot he could see how he achieved many of the five steps.
Survey figures released by the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) of New Zealand last month showed 95% of Kiwis
who responded said spending time in nature made them feel good.
Nearly 50% of New Zealanders will experience a mental health problem during their lifetime, according to the MHF.
Great outdoors . . . Simon Williams’ photograph of mountain biker Tristan Muirhead at Ironside Hill in Wanaka, which was published in Nikon’s photography collection, I Am New Zealand: Aotearoa Through Many Eyes.
Natural remedy . . . Queenstown photographer Simon Williams (44).