7 Ways to Nurture Nature As Therapy
By Donna Brickwood
The idea of ecotherapy, forest bathing, and nature as therapy is growing in popularity. The old ideas our ancestors and indigenous people knew of is making a come back. Doctors are now prescribing nature as treatment for anxiety, depression, cancer, heart issues and more.
The benefits of nature greatly effect the ability to lower stress levels and cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone. Through natural backdrops and views, sights, sounds, and aromatic scent, can regulate emotions, blood pressure, heart rate and overall tension, as well as the sense of spiritual connection or heightened states of awareness.
Some examples of benefits:
*Expansion of Consciousness and Meditative States
*Feelings of Connection and Symbiotic Relationship to something greater than themselves
*Improved mental health and concentration
*Promotes a greater outlook in life
*Increases Creativity and Imagination
*Boosts the immune system
*And the benefits go on and on…..
How Do I Improve My Quality of Life Through Nature?
Get out there, and Find a Sit Spot!!.
Make spending time in nature a part of your routine. Find a location that you can visit time and time again. The more you visit this location the more familiar you will become to notice and observe the rhythms of nature. Find beauty in the small details. Observe the unique patterns on rocks, bark and leaves. Sense how the baseline of the environment changes with various times of the day, and with the transitioning of the seasons. Reflect on the symbiotic relationship we have with the earth and her resources. Remember, we ARE nature.
2. Breathe Deeply
Reap the benefits of increasing oxygen in the body and inhaling the aromatic constituents of the trees, earth, leaves, and plants. The plants and dirt are mineral rich, and loaded with healthy constituents your body craves for. The power of aromatherapy is growing leaps and bounds to improve over health and well-being. Go to the source of those plant allies!
This improves overall circulation, and sends messages to your central nervous system to release stress and tension.
3. Walk Slowly and Practice Presence.
Engage with the environment around you, and become aware of your surroundings. For once don’t feel like you have to rush and be in the everyday hustle and bustle of life. Slow yourself down and reset your tempo so you can drop into a calmer state of presence. Practice walking in a state of discovery, versus walking from one destination point to the next missing everything in between. Expand your senses, allow your eyes and ears to open to exploration and see through the eyes of a child. Find something to fascinate you. Allow your brain to rewire and allow your creativity and free thinking to shine through.
4. Communicate with Nature
They say, “Commune with Nature” for a reason. Because there is an underlying thread of communication that happens when we develop that relationship with her. Talk to the trees, the plants, the animals. You may have questions, issues or wanting insights of something. Allow yourself to have a conversation. And like any effective relating, take the time to listen. You may have one of those pivotal Ah-Ha moments. Or, you may lay down a burden and release a stressful situation or maybe gain more insight to a situation. Talk to nature like an old friend. You just may be surprised what you learn from nature’s interactions.
5. Meditate in Nature
Allow yourself to move out of the box. Unless you work outside, we find ourselves in enclosed spaces for most of the day, if not all day with brief moments of outdoor interaction. We reside in a house, to go outside and get into our vehicle, to go to work. We move from box, to box, to box.
Being outdoors will give you a sense of openness and freedom. Extend your sight through peripheral vision. Open your tunnel vision, and minds to absorb a greater view and more expanded creative way of thinking. All animals in nature are in wide angle vision. This gives them greater depth into the awareness of their surroundings. Think about that! Breakthrough the ceiling and find unlimited potential!
6. Become the Elements
Bruce Lee once stated. “You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”
Reflect on what valuable lessons can be learned by the wisdom of the earth, elements and animal worlds. We all have lessons in life we are moving through. Unique circumstances, decisions, and celebrations mold our everyday lives. How can we integrate the wisdom of the Fire when we are called to action and focus? How can we become like the water when we need to flow through life with more patience, softness and less control? How do we embrace the strength and grounded nature of the Bear when we need to persevere and stand firmly rooted into our core?
7. Surrender to the Ebb and Flow
Recognize that nature is a sequence of rhythmic patterns, and constant change and transformation. How do we learn from the dynamic wheels of change? Practice taking a blanket outside or lying directly down on the earth. Practice surrendering into the arms of the earth. Walk barefooted. Feel the earth, the sand, the grass under your feet. Absorbs the nutrients and minerals into your soles, and Soul. Become the earth. Become the tree, the grass. The more and more you develop a kinship to nature,the more the doorways of communion reveal and revel in itself. Be prepared to open a gateway to a world of beauty and divinity.
Donna Brickwood is the Founder of Sacred Space Healing Arts. A wellness studio dedicated to the integration of mind, body, spirit & nature relationship, as key components to well being and spiritual growth.
She is a writer, healer, and lifestyle coach.
Donna brings her nomadic experience and training of wilderness earth skills, nature philosophy, and healing to her writings and workshops. This unique perspective roots individuals into their authentic nature and life’s vision. Her teachings nurture the connection to the Wilderness of the Soul, and Living a Heart Centered Life. Plant your seeds, and cultivate their growth.