Connecting with Nature for Mental Well-being

Nature is such an important part of our world. While I am not fond of the bugs that call it home, I appreciate the beauty and all the resources nature provides. Did you know that nature can help us with stress management? This is known by a variety of names, including nature therapy, ecotherapy, and green therapy. Regardless of the name, it refers to the therapeutic benefits of spending time in nature.

The stress associated with our day-to-day lives can be overwhelming. Whether we are experiencing health concerns, financial struggles, or relationships, stress can truly impact our health and well-being. Spending time in nature can be a simple and effective way of coping with stress, as it has been shown to lower stress hormone levels in the body.

Stress management is as unique as we are; what may work for one person does not work for all. I enjoy going to the park in the afternoons and taking my shoes off to feel the grass on my feet. It makes me feel grounded, connected, and peaceful. There is something powerful about putting aside my phone, my worries, and my fears to focus on that moment. It reminds me to enjoy the little things and be mindful of how much time I spend on my phone and other electronic devices. I realized that I don’t have to run a marathon, go on a strenuous hike, or plan a weekend camping trip to feel connected to my surroundings. In a world where there are constant deadlines and responsibilities, I have learned to enjoy the tranquility of natural environments.

The access we have to nature may vary depending on our location, climate, and mobility, but where there is a will, there is a way. Get creative and think of ways you can connect with nature in unconventional ways. Start a small garden or get a plant, sit outside to watch the birds fly by while you eat your lunch, watch the sunrise or sunset, learn about your local plants and wildlife, or simply stand outside for a few minutes to feel the sun or wind on your skin. The goal is to disconnect from the rest of the world for a few minutes and focus on the here and now. It means allowing yourself to simply exist—to have a few minutes to be your genuine self without expectations or worries.

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