The Healing Power of Nature

Photo of beautiful valley scene representing the importance of spending time in nature for mental health & the value of ecotherapy.

One only needs to read a few lines from poets such as Frost, Wordsworth, and Thoreau to recognize the love for and connection to nature human beings have always had. Nature stirs our souls and imagination and brings beauty to our everyday lives. But it turns out, nature also brings a slew of benefits to our mental and physical health.

The Many Health Benefits of Spending Time in Nature

Research is now clearly indicating that spending time outdoors can have a positive impact on our health. It doesn’t matter whether you hike, bike or sit under a tree enjoying the sights and sounds of it all. Simply being out doors will have an impact on how stressed out we feel and on your overall wellbeing. Time in nature has shown to reduce stress, slow heart rate, improve pain, lower cortisol, and stimulate the immune system by boosting the production of natural killer cells that fight disease and infection.

In addition, time outside means time in the sun. And THAT means getting a nice boost of vitamin D. In turn, vitamin D offers health benefits from preventing disease, make our bones and teeth stronger, and even improving our mood.

There are countless benefits to spending time outside, from improved mental and physical health to increased creativity and productivity. But perhaps one of the most important reasons to connect with nature is simply because it feels good. When we take the time to unplug from our technology-filled lives and spend time in nature, we allow ourselves to relax and recharge. We can forget about our troubles and simply enjoy the beauty and peace of the natural world.

In today’s fast-paced, constantly-connected world, it’s more important than ever to take some time for ourselves and reconnect with nature. So go for a hike, spend a day at the beach, or just sit in your backyard and take in the fresh air. Your mind, body, and soul will thank you for it.

Give Ecotherapy a Try

Ecotherapy, which is also sometimes referred to as nature therapy, is a practice in the emerging field of ecopsychology. The idea behind this practice is that many modern people, whether they are aware of it or not, feel a massive disconnect from the natural world. When you think about it, our ancestors spent hundreds of thousands of years living WITH nature, feeling it under their bare feet, being outside, ebbing and flowing with the shifts in seasons. Our every need was met by the natural world, and we had an intense connection to it.

In contrast, most of us now spend the majority of our time indoors, in front of screens, and disconnected from nature. Ecotherapy gets us away from our screens and out into the beauty of the natural world. Many clinicians, including myself, believe that the earth has a natural ability to balance us. When we get back in touch with the systems of nature, we can experience improved mental health.

If you are feeling out of sorts and like the idea of trying ecotherapy, you can simply spend more time outside. If you would like someone to help you reconnect with nature, please get in touch with me. I am a big proponent of nature therapy and use it in my practice.

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