Spending time outdoors has many benefits. It’s good for your mood, increases empathy, reduces stress, improves attention span and reduces the risk of mental disorders. But can it help you work harder? We can cautiously say ‘maybe’ when it comes to ‘natural treatment’ in some cases and sometimes in combination with other treatments. Nature, no doubt, can make us feel better, but that’s very different from healing a serious mental illness or trauma.
Before we dive in and examine whether being outdoors and experiencing nature can help heal trauma, let’s be clear about two things. Disaster recovery is no easy task. People coping with trauma benefit from therapy sessions with counseling and/or medication. Trauma-focused therapy is a specialty based on understanding how traumatic events and experiences affect a person’s emotional, mental, and physical health and well-being.
What is damage?
The American Psychological Association defines trauma as an emotional response to a traumatic event such as an accident, rape, or natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are common. Long-term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships, and physical symptoms such as headaches or nausea.
Examples of traumatic events include the death of a loved one, divorce or separation, emotional or physical abuse, experiencing a natural disaster such as a hurricane, being in a car accident, military deployment, car or plane accidents. When you’re hurt emotionally or mentally by something, that’s horrible. It can last a short time, or it can take years to work.
There are three main types of trauma.
- Acute emotional crisis The results of an event or event.
- Chronic stress It is a prolonged and/or repeated occurrence, such as domestic violence or domestic violence.
- Complex damage Exposure to multiple and varied traumatic events creates persistent feelings of dread, helplessness, or fear.
People dealing with traumatic experiences may feel insecure about their bodies and relationships with others. With proper treatment, regaining a sense of safety or confidence can take days or weeks for severely injured individuals. It may take years or more for individuals who have sustained/chronic abuse.
In order to better recover from trauma, which is considered a dissociative disorder, people need to connect with others. The effects of trauma do not improve in isolation. It is important to take care of yourself and others who are injured. Untreated, unresolved trauma can lead to physical ailments such as high blood pressure, stroke, or heart attack. Unresolved trauma also puts people at greater risk for depression, anxiety, or PTSD.
If you are working on your own to overcome the trauma, congratulations. That takes strength. After a few months, however, seek professional help from a trauma specialist.
How can nature help damage?
Let’s start by defining ‘nature’ for our purposes. Nature can mean a forest or forest, green spaces like parks, beaches, wetlands or snowy mountains. Your dog, bird, fish or cat is considered natural. It can also mean trees on the city sidewalk, your yard, or even a window box or houseplants. Everything is considered natural.
There is a form of therapy known as ecotherapy, nature therapy or green therapy. Theodore Rozak, a scholar who studied American counterculture in the 1960s, wrote a novel, earned a Ph.D. He historically taught at Princeton and Stanford University, among other places, and came up with a concept he called ‘Ecopsychology’.
Ecopsychology views human psychological well-being as connected to the natural world AKA ecology. He is not alone in believing that well-being can be improved through intentional interactions with nature. Before Rozak, the concept of ecology was pioneered by a fellow named Robert Greenway, whose idea was that “mind is nature, and nature is mind.” To bring these concepts home, think about it: Who among us doesn’t feel a little better sitting under a shade tree, watching the ocean on the beach, or watching the birds in the backyard?
Here are a few ways to dip your toe into ecotherapy.
Lands. Also referred to as ‘earthing’, this practice means to physically connect with the earth. For example, walking barefoot. Grounds help you bond with electrons on Earth’s surface. A study released by the NIH says so. Multidisciplinary research has shown that the electrically conductive contact of the human body with the earth’s surface (earth or surfaces) has surprising effects on physiology and health. Such effects are related to inflammation, immune responses, wound healing, and chronic pain relief and the prevention and treatment of autoimmune diseases.
There is another. Other studies have shown that grounding improves sleep, reduces stress, reduces pain, shortens healing time, and normalizes our day-night cortisol rhythm. You can test the ground by doing anything that allows your body to come into contact with the ground, such as standing barefoot or lying in the grass, swimming or bathing, gardening, or using floor mats at home.
Horticultural Medicine (HTT). HT is an ancient practice that describes herbal movement and the use of plants for healing and recovery. In the early 19th century, a physician named Dr. Benjamin Rush, who is said to be the first psychiatrist and (fun fact) a signer of the Declaration of Independence, observed and evaluated the benefits of working with herbs for patients. Anyone can use this method of treatment, because plants do not discriminate. Regardless of the person’s capacity, mental state, mind or age, they respond to the person who cares for them. Give it to him. Pull some weeds, plant something interesting or create a ritual around taking care of houseplants.
Animal Assisted Therapies (AAT) Bringing animals into the picture is mental health care. Animals like therapy dogs can bring out caring feelings in people, and caring for another being is something that many people who need help respond well to. As the relationship between therapy animal and patient develops, positive psychological change and emotional recovery often occur.
Exercise in nature. Take a yoga class in the park or try some exercise on your own. Go for a run or walk outside. In the year According to a 2014 study, physical activity and exposure to nature provide significant benefits to human health. Exercising outdoors can improve mood, reduce stress, stimulate your mind and increase focus.
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