The holiday season is a time to celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of another. It’s also a time to reflect. It’s a time to look back on the past 12 months to evaluate goals, accomplishments and failures, good times and hardships and everything to show gratitude for. How will this reflection impact the ways that you’ll enter the new year?
Health and wellness is always at the top of the list for self-improvement and prosperous living. Good health and wellness affects our relationships, career potential, emotional well-being and outlook on life. Among our collections of commitments, like “the gym three times a week,” and quick-fixes like a cleansing detox, one of the best ways to improve how we live is right outside, in the great outdoors.
So as you reflect on this past year, consider how connecting more with nature has immense potential to revitalize your mind and body into 2017. The mutually beneficial human-earth relationship can lead to a healthier psyche and body. Field experts call this ecopsychology—a bond between humans and earth.
What is Ecopsychology?
Ecopsychology is the impact and influence shared between humans and nature. Within the past several years, this movement has been centered around our relationship with Earth. Ecopsychology asserts that the environment affects our personal thoughts, feelings and experiences. Both the natural and human worlds mirror and support the other, implying that environmental states and the physical, mental and emotional states of humans are inseparable, according to EcotherapyHeals.com.
Theodore Roszak, author of “The Voice of the Earth,” determines ecopsychology to be an inextricable bond between nature and human life. It’s “an ongoing and practical healing mission” based upon a dependency between the health of the ecosystem and the health of the human psyche. Ecopsychology believes that “psychology needs ecology, and ecology needs psychology.” In the partnership between nature and humans, we can find more about our identify, suffering and ability to heal and grow.
What is Ecotherapy?
Ecotherapy is essentially the application of ecopsychology. It’s the process of a positive interaction with Earth that nurtures healing and growth. In other words, nature-based methods can physically and psychologically heal grief or despair, for instance. An eco-conscious lifestyle and engagement with nature fosters better health and wellness for both worlds.
But you don’t have to be a devoted treehugger or live-off-the-land outdoorsman. Just a conscious effort to embrace nature can yield great benefits for your psyche, emotional well-being, relationships and physical health. Starting this holiday season, start to subscribe to aspects of an ecotherapeutic practice by strengthening your connection with nature. Use its beauty and peacefulness as a way to eradicate symptoms of anxiety, stress or depression. Add natural sunlight to your life and find balance in nature’s restorative powers. Then live green and advocate causes that support the well-being of our planet.
Disconnect to Reconnect with Nature
This holiday season, start small by first adopting eco-mindfulness. Choose to take a nature walk outdoors, rather than shopping at the mall. Celebrate the New Year by staying in a cabin and immersing yourself in nature. You can even use this gift-giving season as an excuse to start gathering all the outdoor gear that you need for new adventure hobbies like camping or hiking. Perhaps your family can start gardening or play at a park after dinnertime, instead of staring at digital devices. If you live where there is snow – think about building snowmen or playing together in the snow.
Nature has the power to transform us, states Psychology Today. Green therapy can increase how you see your surroundings, finding greater meaning and beauty all around you. Engaging in the outdoors can boost moods and trigger feelings of being more alive. A stronger connection with nature allows you to see something greater than yourself and how it can diminish negative effects from things like work, social media, the internet, loneliness, strained relationships or an overpacked schedule that weigh down on you.
Nature is a sanctuary where you can find tranquility. Unplug to process less information and let mental chaos go as you move through nature. You may find that nature is where to find awakening, meditative experiences that help change negative perceptions and an increase in vitality — physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.