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Health and recreation - Green Care

The Berchtesgadener Land is appreciated by locals as well as tourists for its high health and recreational value. The beautiful landscape, the numerous outdoor activities as well as in the spas and other health and leisure facilities are proof of the award as Gesundheitsregionplus (health region plus). The work of the Biosphere Region Administration Office focuses on the research project “Green Care: Nature and Mental Health”, which scientifically investigates the extent to which mindfulness and nature-based interventions are suitable for promoting people’s mental health.

Mentally healthy

Free brochure with mindfulness and relaxation exercises in nature

Frau sitzt meditierend an einem idyllischen Bach am Waldrand

The Berchtesgadener Land biosphere region and the Rhön Biosphere Reserve, Bavarian part, have been researching the effects of mindfulness and relaxation exercises in nature for five years as part of the “Green Care – Nature and Mental Health” project. The result: The exercises developed can help reduce stress, prevent burnout and provide relief for people with depression. Feel free to try it out! The exercises in this brochure are particularly suitable for everyday life. Whether in the forest, on the meadow, in a park or in your own garden, nature everywhere invites us to be more mindful, relaxed and serene.

Green Care

In the research project “Green Care – Nature & Mental Health”, the administrative office of the Berchtesgadener Land biosphere region investigated from 2018 to 2023 how special mindfulness exercises in nature can be used in already established psychotherapeutic procedures and for prevention in the general population. The focus was on the one hand on patients with depression in the psychosomatic rehabilitation area (the cooperation partner was the Alpenland Clinic in Bad Reichenhall) and on the other hand on people who are looking for ways to reduce stress and prevent burnout in the preventative area. Furthermore, research was carried out into whether the willingness to act to protect nature could be increased through the offer. The scientific support was provided by the evaluation team of Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Kals, Professor of Social and Organizational Psychology at the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt. Another project component was the definition of nature experience spaces that are particularly suitable for inner contemplation and relaxation. For this purpose, the Berchtesgadener Land biosphere region is working together with the University of Augsburg. The cooperation partner was the Bavarian part of the Rhön Biosphere Reserve. The research project was financed by the Bavarian State Ministry for Health and Care and the Bavarian State Ministry for the Environment and Consumer Protection.

Vacation and health - recreation in nature

Nature-based mindfulness training

Nature-based mindfulness training, developed by project member Meike Krebs-Fehrmann and scientifically evaluated by the University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, is a clearly structured training concept that comprises 12 hours and extends over three weeks (3×4 hours). Between sessions, participants repeat exercises at home for about 20 minutes each day. In nature-based minfulness training, some exercises that are also used in MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) and MBCT (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy) (breathing meditation, body scan, mindful yoga as formal exercises, mindfulness while performing everyday actions as informal exercises) are combined with methods from nature education (e.g. exercises on sensory awareness, change of perspective, experiencing nature, encountering plants and animals). In the three sessions all senses are stimulated: smelling, tasting, hearing, seeing, touching and feeling, self-movement, balance and orientation as well as the inner perception of the body. With a little practice, the sensory perceptions become anchors to the present. A mindfully percieved sound, a sensation on the skin, a smell can connect with the present moment. Nature is not a mere backdrop in the training, but rather a positive relationship with nature is actively worked on to discover nature as a potential resource and source of support and health. The practice of coping strategies through mindfulness of bodily sensations, emotions, thoughts, needs and nature, as well as the strengthening of resources and competencies for a successful everyday life are the focus of the interventions.

Klinische und präventive Gruppen

Das NAT wird sowohl im präventiven als auch im klinischen Bereich erprobt und evaluiert. Kooperationspartner für den klinischen Teil der wissenschaftlichen Studie ist die Alpenland Klinik in Bad Reichenhall, Psychosomatik, mit dem Chefarzt Dr. Florian Katzlberger. Neben Meike Krebs-Fehrmann, Projektmitarbeiterin der Biosphärenregion Berchtesgadener Land als Gruppenleitung, ist Sandra Rank als therapeutische Unterstützung der Klinik anwesend.

Die präventiven Gruppen richten sich an die Allgemeinbevölkerung und finden an unterschiedlichen Orten im Landkreis Berchtesgadener Land statt. Die Gruppen werden von Meike Krebs-Fehrmann geleitet und von Dr. Christoph Rothmayr, Psychologischer Psychotherapeut (VT), zusätzlich begleitet.

Die Evaluation bezieht Experimental- und Kontrollgruppen mit ein und erfolgt durch Fragebögen und Reflexionen. Die Fragebogenerhebung findet zu drei Zeitpunkten statt. Es werden Skalen zur Messung folgender Aspekte verwendet: Emotionale Befindlichkeit, allgemeine Achtsamkeit, Selbstmitgefühl, wahrgenommene emotionale und soziale Unterstützung, naturbezogene Achtsamkeit, emotionale Verbundenheit mit der Natur, Bewusstsein für Gefährdungen der Natur, internale und externale Verantwortungszuschreibung, naturschützende Bereitschaft, globale naturschützende Verhaltensweisen.




Haben Naturräume eine Auswirkung auf die menschliche Gesundheit und Psyche – und wenn ja, welche? Wie muss ein solcher Naturraum beschaffen sein, dass er eine solche Wirkung erbringt? Mit diesen Fragen beschäftigt sich ein Projektbaustein des Projekts „Green Care – Natur und psychische Gesundheit“.

Portrait Meike Krebs-Fehrmann

Your contact person

Meike Krebs-Fehrmann

Green Care – Nature & Health

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