Rebecca Pezzatto / 06/07/2021
Ecotherapy: How Nature Can Help Improve Your Health
Life can get too overwhelming, especially in these trying times we’re living through. There’s way too much anxiety that comes with being an adult: work pressure, studying too hard for classes, being overactive on social media, answering phone calls, having too many emails on your inbox page, feeling depressed. As if that wasn’t enough to bring you to a meltdown, there’s even a global pandemic on top of all that. But what can you do to relax when you’re feeling anxious?
If you do a little gardening to better your mood or take a ride on your bike to relieve stress and clear your mind from the hectic daily life, you’re already doing some sort of ecotherapy. And of course, it’s common knowledge that spending time in nature is indeed relaxing. However, there is actual evidence that nature can impact and improve many aspects of your health.
Bettering mental and physical well-being
Ecotherapy, also known as “green therapy” or “nature therapy,” is an umbrella term that gathers a huge range of activities that not only improve your physical health but also helps a lot your mental well-being. These activities all share the same approach: the idea of having a deep connection with nature safely. The benefits of it in your life can be nearly endless. Opposite to what you might think, it’s actually easy to incorporate some nature into your daily routine. And here’s another great plus: it can be fairly cheap!
Something that is becoming more and more popular over time is trying to increase mindfulness. Many apps try to help with breathing, guided meditation, and relaxation techniques. Sure, they all make use of nature sounds and images, and it’s more than okay if that’s the only way you have to access it. But if you can, spending time in a natural environment like a green park or at the beach, and experiencing the calming sounds and visuals for a while will help you detach from the things that are stressing you.
Ecotherapy can also motivate you to exercise more. But if you’re thinking about a stressful environment like the gym, scratch that out of your head! You don’t have to become a fitness master to get moving. The simple act of getting out of your house and taking a light walk. Making use of that corner of your living room that gets hit by the sun to stretch your limbs. Maybe doing some yoga. All of that is enough to get you started! Those little things can help improve so many aspects of your health and even help you sleep better at night.
Getting in sync with nature often comes to mind as something you do alone to connect with yourself, but it’s also great to connect with other humans. When you think about therapy, you probably think about someone talking alone with a shrink. But that’s another one of the beauties of ecotherapy: it can take place in groups. You can invite people you like to go hiking, or even join a community gardening. Social connections can help reduce loneliness, which is a feeling most of us probably felt a lot during the last year.
You can incorporate these little things in your life, but don’t hesitate to seek out extra support if you want to. Ecotherapy is still somewhat new, but some experienced therapists can help you reap all of its benefits. Do your research and don’t forget to respect what your body wants and needs!
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