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Ecotherapy and World Mental Health Day

Eco-Friday blog post

Yesterday was World Mental Health Day, which gives us an awesome opportunity to talk about some nature related techniques that can contribute towards helping people manage their mental well-being.

Embracing the green is a great way to support brain health and all round wellness.

I came across the following simple, can-do-it-yourself therapies this week which anyone can indulge in next time you’re in the great outdoors to kick off some personal mental health care:

- Look up, and all around you, to truly take in the space surrounding you. Notice what you see, really observe the little things that you would normally glance over. Here, it can be taking in Mount Cooroora in all her glory, the rocky outcrops, the trees, the tracks, the colours.

- Listen to the sounds, and consciously take note of what you can hear. At our Retreat, it is often the bird sounds you notice first. Sometimes the noisy cockatoos or other times the more gentle trill of honeyeaters. The sounds of nature can be subtle but oh-so soothing!

- Now it’s time for all the feels - in Noosa at this time of year it is usually the glorious warmth of the Spring sunshine. A particular favourite is also lying on the grass after a hard day while the warm evening air drifts across your skin.

- Breathe. I know it sounds corny but if you concentrate on your breathing rhythm, and consciously take each breath, feel your lungs filling and expelling air, it’s amazing how much more in touch with your body you feel. Here, the air is so pure, you can feel how healthy it is!

These are all proven techniques, and part of an emerging type of therapy that is gaining momentum - Ecotherapy (we have talked about some other therapies under this banner in previous blogs - grounding and forest bathing).

Ecotherapies are simple but credible techniques that can help support people suffering with anxiety and depression. They are all based on the evidence that people are connected to and impacted by the natural environment.

Ecotherapy is proven to reduce stress and lower blood pressure, provide better mental clarity, and cognitive health too. It helps us to self-regulate, reflect, and decompress from the stresses of our busy lives. What an amazing medicine. It really is the ‘great’ outdoors!!

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