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Nature Therapy for Your Wellbeing

by | Dec 5, 2023 | Medical Wellness

Nature therapy, also known as ecotherapy or green therapy, is a therapeutic practice that involves spending time outdoors in nature to improve mental and physical well-being. This form of therapy is based on the idea that connecting with nature can have a positive impact on a person’s overall health. Ecotherapy can take many forms, including gardening, hiking, wilderness therapy, or simply spending quiet time in a natural setting like a personal retreat to escape the chaos of city life.

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Stress reduction and relaxation

Numerous studies have shown that spending time in natural environments can significantly reduce stress levels. The presence of green spaces has been associated with lower cortisol levels, indicating reduced levels of stress. Researchers found that spending time in nature can improve mental well-being, leading to a more relaxed state of mind. In Japan, there is a similar practice known as forest bathing or shinrin-yoku (森林浴) which involves spending time in nature to promote physical and mental well-being.

Mental health benefits

Nature therapy has been linked to improved mental health outcomes. Experimental studies suggested the protective effects of exposure to natural environments on mental health outcomes and cognitive function. Exposure to natural light also helps regulate sleep patterns, which are crucial for maintaining good mental health. A key research study conducted by NParks (Singapore) finds that clinically depressed individuals experience benefits from passive exposure to therapeutic gardens.

Improving creative reasoning in natural settings

Both adults and children are spending increasingly more time on digital and social media, and studies have shown that excessive social media use is linked to a poorer state of mental health. A study has shown that with just four days of immersion in nature, and the corresponding disconnection from multi-media and technology, increases performance on a creativity, problem-solving task by a full 50% in a group of naive hikers.

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Social well-being

Engaging in nature-based activities often fosters social connections and friendships, leading to a deeper sense of social cohesion and it can also reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness in this digital age. In a study, researchers found that when people with low social connectedness had high levels of nearby nature, they reported high levels of well-being.

Ecotherapy is often used in conjunction with traditional therapeutic approaches but offers a unique way of healing by incorporating the natural world into the therapeutic process. From stress reduction and improved mental health to enhanced creativity and social connections, the benefits are aplenty. So, take a break from the digital world, step outside, and allow the healing power of nature to nurture your mind, body, and soul.

 

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