The fact is, one in five Americans suffer from some form of mental health issues, and this number was only exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic that uprooted everyone’s typical lives. Nature therapy, also known as ecotherapy, is an umbrella term for therapy that is nature-based. Ecotherapy is a concept that draws its roots from the idea that when people connect with nature, they strengthen their connection with themselves. Even a little bit of exposure to nature each day can drastically improve mood.
Have you ever gone to the beach, put your toes in the sand, felt the warmth of the sun on your skin, and been connected to something bigger than yourself? Nature is incredibly powerful and can have a profound effect on our perspective. Simply immersing ourselves in nature is an effective way to disconnect from our daily obligations and look inward.
Research on ecotherapy shows that nature helps to alleviate stress, anxiety, depression, and can even improve memory. Surrounding yourself in nature can help connect you to your inner peace. Being in nature is not only good for your mental health but also helpful for your physical health and immune system. Ecotherapy is meant to enhance the benefits of traditional psychotherapy, not replace it completely.
Nature’s Effects on Mental Health
Although researchers don’t know the exact effects of nature on our brains, they have done studies that show people who went for a 90-minute walk outside had lower activity in the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is the area of the brain that’s active during rumination—or the process of repetitive thoughts that focus on negative emotions. If rumination becomes a habit, it can be especially harmful to mental health, because it can intensify depression as well as your ability to think and process emotions. There are many ways you can incorporate ecotherapy into your life. Take a look at the suggestions below to reap the benefits of ecotherapy.
Types of Ecotherapy:
May is national mental health awareness month, and Alleviant Health Centers is here to assist you if you or a loved one needs support. Mental wellbeing is of the utmost importance, and ecotherapy can be used in conjunction with psychotherapy or other services. Call today to schedule a free consultation to find out more and be matched with the best therapist for your situation.