Ecotherapy and the healing power of nature4 September 2019
Remember I’ve told you about my HOPE Principles? Well the ‘E’ is for eating well, exercise and ecotherapy. And here I thought I’d spend a little time focusing on the ecotherapy and the healing power of nature. This isn’t just me saying I like to spend time outdoors, either (though I do!) It’s actually been scientifically proven that being in nature can make us healthier and happier.
My favourite ecotherapy
I love being by the sea. The salty air and the gentle sound of the water puts me very firmly into my happy place. I’ve recently been in California and I’ve been out on my bike cycling by the ocean there really isn’t much that can beat that for me. But really, ecotherapy is anything outdoors which makes you feel physically and mentally healthier.
If you like some facts and stats, then here you go. In Finland, researchers measured wellbeing and stress and anxiety levels of people after a 20-minute walk. Those who walked in green spaces saw a huge boost in wellbeing and reduction in stress, compared with those who spent time in urban settings. And Swedish studies have shown that outdoor walks can help us to think more clearly. I always take a walk before a meeting or work project, it gets my creative juices flowing and really focuses my mind.
What is forest bathing?
When I first heard this term all kinds of weird and wonderful images sprang to mind! Don’t worry though, it’s nothing to do with taking a bath! Essentially, it means immersing yourself in the woodland, breathing and walking in a green and beautiful setting. I love to do this there’s no noise or traffic, maybe just the sound of the birds singing. Believe me, it’s virtually impossible to feel anything but relaxed and calm when you do this. In fact, if you live in Japan this is even part of their public health programme. Personally I think this should be the case everywhere!
Step away from the screens...
Being outdoors in nature is a great way to limit screen time, too. You often find that signal is low anyway if you’re in dense woodland, but if you’re walking on the beach by the sea or enjoying some peaceful mindfulness then the absolute last thing you want is your phone pinging at you all the time. Leave your devices at home, or at the very least switch them off! Ecotherapy is all about nature, and while there’s a time and place for technology this definitely isn’t it.
Go for green therapy
I love plants and spend as much time as I can in the garden or greenhouse, planting, growing and tending. If this is something you love too, you could even consider doing some voluntary work for local conservation groups they’re often looking for people to help, and it’s the perfect way to give something back to your community and get your green therapy at the same time.
A room with a view
Sadly, it’s not always possible to get out and about and if for any reason you’re laid up indoors you can soon find you’re missing the benefits of fresh air. But make sure you position yourself so you can see outdoors, as a view of trees and natural landscapes has actually been proved to help you heal faster. Indoor plants and window boxes can make a good alternative if you don’t have your own garden.
And finally... if you’re watching the pennies people, then what could be better? Ecotherapy is FREE!
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Lots of love and positive vibes, Camille xx