Being deeply connected to Nature is necessary for one's
mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing.
Many people are feeling disconnected these days, spending a great deal of time indoors, connected to devices rather than to each other- or even themselves! This can cause a myriad of issues. Studies have shown that spending time in nature reduces depression by 70%. Eco therapy focuses on our reconnecting with nature and improving our mental and physical wellbeing through being outdoors. No this doesn't mean you have to climb a mountain, that is, unless you are up for such an adventure- then go for it! Connecting to nature can be as simple as spending time in your local park or being next to a stream. There are many ways to reconnect without having to travel to far off places.
When people feel connected to nature, they feel more connected to themselves and others and everything becomes clearer. Sometimes we need to get grounded and go deep within ourselves- with Mother Nature as our guide, as our healer. The forest itself is the therapist. The oceans, mountains and meadows; even the ground beneath our feet can help to enliven us in ways that may have many positive health benefits.
The healing power of nature is not new. Steven M Taylor, a psychologist who has studied the effects of eco therapy has said: "It’s not surprising that nature has a therapeutic effect when you consider that the human race – and all our evolutionary forebears – have been closely bonded with it for all our existence. It’s only in recent times that many of us have been confined to man-made environments. For us, contact with green spaces is therefore like going back home, and fills us with the same sense of safety and belonging."
He goes on to say, "the main reason why nature can heal and transform us is because of its calming and mind-quietening effect. In nature, our minds process a lot less information than normal..and most importantly, the beauty and majesty of nature acts a little like a mantra in meditation, slowing down the normal ‘thought-chatter’ which runs chaotically through our minds. As a result, an inner stillness and energy fills us."
DO IT YOURSELF ECO THERAPY
There are many ways to reconnect with nature. This is something that you can do for yourself or with others. By being alone, it allows you to also 'go within' and become and observer- observing your own feelings, thoughts and sensations and also letting your senses enjoy and absorb the sights and sounds of the natural world. It doesn't mean you have to book a trip to Yellowstone National Park, you can go to your own local park, or your favourite place - as long as you feel like you are somewhat close to nature- it is how YOU FEEL when you are there, that will you that you're in the right spot. This might be a small park (even within the city), or it may be sat down beside a stream, or strolling in a meadow of wildflowers, or being next to the ocean. Wherever this may be it should resonate with you. There are no rules. No right or wrong.
So take off those shoes and socks, plant your feet firmly on the ground (grass, sand, pebbles)- connect your feet to the EARTH. Sit with your back leaning up next to a tree, dip your feet into the water, listen to the breeze, watch other beings - the birds, insects and any other critters who might come along the way. Take as little or as long as you want. Even just 15 minute can have a beneficial effect on your emotional and mental state. And don't forget to BREATHE.