Research has shown that nature is indeed a form of medicine and contributes to what Deschutes Wilderness Therapy is today.
However, for those who are less inclined to seek nature — even during a pandemic, getting those benefits may seem out of reach. These people may have bad memories of camping/hiking expeditions gone sideways and ongoing challenges with certain allergies. Such events have them seeking peaceful refuge indoors or, at most, limiting how long they are outside.
However, there are simpler ways of engaging with nature that are scientifically proven to support mental and emotional wellbeing.
1. Bring Plants Into Your Home
House plants are an easy and inexpensive way to interact with nature every day. They are a quiet reminder that every living thing — even you, needs and deserves care and attention. A study shows that they bring calm, help plant owners feel more natural and comfortable. Other scientific studies have found that they prove beneficial to those with anxiety and depression. Additionally, NASA research said it helps remove toxins from homes.
2. Nature Sounds Can Heal
While some skeptics may argue that nothing compares to hearing nature sounds in person, science has proven that audio recordings of nature support our psychological health. In a study, nature sounds supported a decrease in the participant’s “fight-or-flight” feelings and increased bodily relaxation and functioning in normal situations. The findings further say that recorded nature sounds are most effective when they are familiar to the listener. If you live in a rainy area, then recorded rains showers may be soothing, for example.
3. Open a Window/Sit Near One
Sitting near an open window may sound too simplistic at first. However, feeling the fresh air coming through, seeing trees, and or hearing birds outside can be of benefit. Doing this 20–30 minutes every day can lower your stress.
4. Consider Short Visits with Mother Nature
When the pollen counts are low, and the weather is pleasant, a short walk in your neighborhood or even your favorite spot in your yard will serve, as well. Check out Park RX America for finding the closest park to your house, too. Richard Louv, the author of “Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life,” promotes finding a “sit spot” — a place that you come back to often to be still, listen, and observe the changes and rhythms of nature in that one area. Doing this, he says, helps us to feel less lonely.
5. Pets – Another way to Connect with Nature
Getting a pet can be great for your mental and emotional health. As it is with plants, caring for another living creature provides structure and purpose to our day. Cats and dogs tend to be adept at sensing human moods and are proven to lower our heart rates and stress levels.
The healing power of nature is great, even in small and simple ways. Deschutes Wilderness Therapy provides custom therapeutic methods to suit troubled teens’ individual and specific needs.