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 Benefits of Spending Time in Nature
Research is now clearly indicating that spending time outdoors can have a positive impact on our health. Whether you bike, hike, or simply sit under a tree enjoying the sights and sounds, 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, which can do everything from preventing disease, make our bones and teeth stronger, and improve our mood.
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.
But today, most of us are only connected to a digital device. 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.