This blog post was written by our therapists, Jane Ackerman & Nikki Zapach.
Stepping outside into nature – fresh air, water, rich earthy smells, greenery, and teeming animal life-benefits us in a myriad of ways. Natures sounds can be restful and soothing in contrast to the demanding, urgent feel of many urban sounds. Most of us have felt the positive effects of nature on our mood, our bodies, our minds. But it’s rich with growth-promoting analogies as well.
Plants digging deep for nourishment from the earth with root systems and simultaneously climbing for the light of the sun speaks to our need to feel support while growing, being productive. Being outdoors can remind us we do not have to be stagnant; there is growth and regrowth, movement, change. We can see that the destruction of as seed, a static form with potential, can lead to beautiful new growth. The exercise of “grounding” oneself with bare feet directly on the earth and imaging sprouting roots to further anchor and nourish us assists in centering, focusing, bringing one’s attention to the present.
We can also step outside of our routines. While routines stabilize, they can also have a dulling effect. Driving a new way to work or learning a new language stimulates our brains.
We can also “step outside” of our comfort zone. Moving beyond our secure life pod stretches our minds, our being. We can try on new thoughts, new behaviors, and new interactions in a rejuvenating expansion of our selves and our world.
Caring for nature, like caring for other people or causes, can elevate our mood by strengthening our sense of belonging and purpose, stepping outside of our very selves. We grow and expand as we engage with the “other,” experiencing transcendence, a sense of connectedness to something larger than ourselves.
If you are having a hard time and need someone to talk to, please contact our office