This time of year, I long to be outside. Looking out my window at the land turning hues of green again. Winter has moved out and spring continues to move in. The sun looks and feels warm on our skin, but the wind and air still hold a chill. Our need for connection to nature has always been. It is medicine for our souls.
Ecopsychology studies the relationship between humans and nature. Research has shown us that being around spaces that are blue (rivers, lakes, oceans, water) and green (plants, trees, forests, land) have a calming effect on our bodies and minds. This counteracts the stress we experience from life, especially with the increase of screen time such as social media and video games. Being outside for even 10 minutes has been shown to increase mental health, happiness, focus, and brain function.
One main area of research in ecopsychology has been on the beneficial calming impacts of the nervous system. With past experiences and current stresses keeping our nervous system in fight/flight/freeze/fawn modes, nature has a way of attuning our systems back to the natural rhythms of life. People often talk about how the roots of trees look similar to our internal nervous system, it is no wonder they can provide such comfort and relaxation as they hold us in their refreshing embrace. This can be an example for healing.
Here at Torus, we sometimes hold therapy while walking along the river. We are also coming up with creative ways to heal in nature, remembering and re-establishing this long held relationship. Please reach out if this is something that calls to you, 224-803-2295.
How can you explore your relationship with nature today? We hope you allow yourself to wander for a bit under the big blue sky.
Some ways to be outside:
- Forest Bathing
- Floating down a river
- Walking in a field of flowers
- Journaling near a pond
- Bikes rides
- Outdoor walks and hikes
- Playing with our children and animals in nature
Ideas to bring nature inside:
- Indoor Plants
- Pictures of nature
- Nature sound apps
Written by: Dawn Yarbrough, Clinical Mental Health Counseling Intern