The human connection to nature goes back thousands of years. At one time, we were deeply connected to the natural elements and worked closely with them.
In indigenous communities and tribes, it was, and is, believed that the Spirit is in the mountains, the ground, hills, rivers, and the seas. This is why nature was often worshipped and respected highly and still is in some countries and communities today.
Nature has the potential to provide us with medicine for healing and was frequently used to guide us, both physically and intuitively. This included the natural elements, as well as the animal world. Shamans and many healers work with nature to help with the healing of disease and to improve people’s quality of life.
You have probably already felt the effects of Mother Nature many times without realizing it. As you read about the benefits and scientific studies and research in this article, you’ll most likely remember more than one occasion when that occurred.
Understanding why connecting with nature is important
Today, a lot of the connection has been lost, mainly due to urbanization and technology. Although these are great additions to our lives, they have also taken away from our need to be in touch with nature.
But we cannot live without it. Trees and oceans provide us with oxygen and improve our immune system, hormone function, and help rejuvenate our cells.
It gives room for fun and play, balances our energies, and helps us be more serene and creative If it was lost, humans wouldn’t survive for long. It might be why humans crave and need this connection so strongly, even if many times unconsciously.
If you’ve ever returned home after a full day by the sea, hiking in the mountains, or a long walk in the forest, you already know how it feels. Not to mention the feelings you get while you are engaging in these.
Nature helps regulate our bodies and affects our emotional and psychological health. It reduces stress, calms you down, and improves your cognitive functioning and flexibility.
It is said that the more you connect with her, the more she will collaborate with you and provide you with medicine and healing. Through herbs, plants, trees, ocean, and seas, and strengthening your intuition and connection to yourself.
Losing touch with nature denies you the incredible benefits it provides which often leads to the lack of desire to care for her. Nature has great healing abilities and can help you with depression, anxiety, feelings of isolation, and personal growth.
Nature improves your emotional and psychological health
Research shows that time in nature affects cognitive functioning and several important hormones in a positive way. Being in nature regularly helps you improve cognitive flexibility, working memory, and vigilance.
Another benefit is that it helps with attention control which helps you focus, at work and in general. For those struggling with staying focused, this is great news. But everyone benefits.
An interesting observation has been the one between empathy and being in nature. Since empathy is one of the main things that connects us deeper to other people, an increase in empathy is highly beneficial.
Nature helps you relax and decrease emotions of frustration, sadness, and anger. This leaves more room for the other emotions that make you feel good, like joy, love, and serenity.
The next time you are feeling stressed, anxious, or low, you can use this connection to your advantage. Go for a swim, sit by the ocean, walk in the park or sit down on the grass or next to a tree.
Contact with nature increases your sense of joy and belonging
Sunlight provides you with the essential Vitamin D and also helps regulate serotonin levels, as well as melatonin levels. Serotonin is necessary for you to feel emotions such as love, joy and excitement for life. It has been scientifically proven that nature helps regulate your serotonin levels.
Melatonin is another essential hormone that helps balance your mood and plays a vital role in a healthy circadian rhythm that relates to your sleep.
Your body and brain need proper deep sleep in order to restore and function optimally. The meer exposure to natural light affects your melatonin levels and is especially beneficial in the morning.
Depression is often related to the lack of proper hormone functioning but it is also too often overlooked. When you combine healthy food, exercise, and nature, you increase your chances of feeling joy and fulfillment drastically.
A sense of connectedness and meaning in life
Other studies made have shown that people who are regularly in nature feel a general sense o being connected to something. Many people who have struggled with loneliness and isolation have found comfort and a sense of belonging while connecting to the natural elements. Another thing that research has shown is an increase in feelings of purpose and meaning in life.
These discoveries may just have something to do with our thousand-year relationship with nature.
Nature therapy and its benefits
Nature therapy, or ecotherapy, is based on holistic healing through an intimate connection with nature. Green spaces, Water and Ocean therapy, Wilderness therapy, Adventure therapy, therapeutic farming, and animal-assisted therapy in nature are all part of nature therapy.
These therapies are guided by professionals which enhances the healing further. However, you can start perfectly on your own with daily exposure.
Nature therapy includes forest walks, hiking in the mountains, and simply observing valleys and landscapes. It is also sitting by the sea and the river, swimming in open water, and adventures in a natural setting. You can also go on a retreat in a natural setting where you are surrounded by forests, trees, the sea, or landscape views.
There are specific retreats and one-day or weekend getaways with the goal of using nature as therapy. These experiences include water and land adventures, contact with animals, such as horses, and yoga or meditation in the forest or in the mountains.
Because nature therapy includes many options, it’s easy to find a practice that suits you and is accessible where you live. And when you have the opportunity, you can try a retreat that is specifically made for healing, improving health, and rejuvenation through nature.
It seems that the connection our ancestors had with both nature and animals are returning and getting more attention. This is great news for both humans and nature itself.
How to reap the benefits daily
The effects nature has on us, and we on her, are many and there is still a lot we haven’t discovered. The serenity you feel when you look over valleys and mountains or sit by the water, and the relief you feel after a run or hike in the park or the forests.
Walking alone puts you in a calmer state quickly and reduces stress. When you combine it with deep breaths and observe the nature around you, like trees and flowers, it strengthens further.
By observing what happens when you are in nature, and how you feel the following days, you become increasingly aware of her effects on your life.
How to use nature daily for overall health and well-being
Collaborating with nature for better health and well-being means that you are both out in nature and interact with it. If you’ve ever heard of people hugging a tree, walking barefoot on the grass or digging hands into the soil, then this is interaction. This is great news because it gives you more options to choose from.
Forest bathing (originally called Shinrin-Yoku), grounding (also called earthing), wilderness therapy and water therapy are usually the ones you will hear about. There is a lot of research and science showing up that backs up these therapies and the discoveries are continuous.
If you live in an urban city or area, it’s especially important for you to get out in nature. Even if your time is limited, sitting or walking barefoot on the grass, putting your hands on the sand or the ground, or walking in the park helps tremendously.
Make use of what you have around you and try to spend at least two hours in nature each week. That is about 25 minutes each day which is possible for most people. Your entire being will benefit.
If you don’t have access to nature or can’t go outside, it has been proven that watching wide landscapes and oceans on video helps. The pure sound of it also has a positive effect, such as ocean waves crashing against the shore.
There is always a way to connect you to Mother Earth and her healing powers.