A few weeks ago I finished up a class called Stress and Pain, and it was really good! Hands down one of my favorite classes at Southern Utah University! There is a lot to this class, and I’ll talk about parts of it later. For now, though, I’d like to talk about Ecotherapy.
What is Ecotherapy? Ecotherapy is a fairly new term in Psychology, coined by
Have you ever heard someone say that they were so upset that they needed to go for a walk to cool off? They were actually on to something. In the book we used for the class: Managing Stress by Brian Luke Seward, Seward mentioned a few different studies where environment helped calm and even heal people. In one study, people who were shown images of nature, their serotonin levels increased. In another study, people shown these images of nature reported decreased sense of anger.
There was a lot more information in this book as well as countless studies on the subject, but you have to remember that a lot of this is theory. You also have to remember that this isn’t a cure-all; and what works for one person may not work for another. That being said, being outside in nature is probably the easiest and most accessible thing we have out there to break us out of a funk or help clear our minds when we feel a little overwhelmed.
Another point to keep in mind is that you can’t get the full benefit of nature if you’re not experiencing fully. If you’re hiking and listening to music, texting or calling, or even just sleeping outside, you will get some benefits, yes. However, you will get so much more out of it if you either put your phone away or use it to take pictures. I’m not suggesting that all technology is bad, but take just a few minutes break from it and let all of your sense experience what nature has to offer. You won’t regret it.