One of the best things you can do to improve your health and wellbeing is to get out into nature. Ecotherapy is essentially immersing oneself in nature for therapeutic purposes. The great thing about ecotherapy and connecting to nature, is the fact that it isn't as forced or deliberate as it may sound. Most people who head out into the great outdoors don't consciously do it with therapy in mind, but simply go out to have fun, exercise and to relax.
Going for a walk or hike in the wilderness is not only energising, but calming in effect. As humans we are constantly exposed to the human made environment, which generally consists of concrete, buildings, bricks, steel, pollution, litter, cars, trucks, buses and a tonne of other stuff. Despite being animals ourselves, we seem to have lost our connection to nature, constantly being distracted by the devices and technology of the modern era. By venturing out into nature we re-establish the connection to our senses and mind, affording a greater sense of peace. The unnatural technological distractions are left behind resulting in a more mindful sensory connection to the world around us. Natural sounds, scents, textures and sights have a calming influence on the mind, body and spirit, releasing you from the ever constant barrage of emails, notifications, texts and calls as well as other life pressures . There is plenty of research to support the positive effects of ecotherapy on the mind and body, but rather than reading about it, the best way to understand how ecotherapy can benefit your current state of wellbeing, is to get out there and experience it for yourself. Whether you go hiking, walking, riding or camping, the important thing is to just enjoy the experience and not think about it to much.
Here are a few tips to get you started-
Find a location away from almost all signs of life or at the very least one that is fairly remote.
Find somewhere to sit and soak it in. You don't have to sit with your legs crossed meditating or anything like that. Just eating some lunch in silence or looking out over a nice view, will be provide sufficient peace to allow your mind to naturally wander into a state of mindfulness.
Allow your bare feet to touch the earth. Not only is it good for your skin, but it also establishes a direct connection to earth.
Give some time and attention to the other senses. As humans we rely heavily on sight, nature is the perfect place to tune into your other senses, connecting you on a deeper level.
Breathe. When you finally have an opportunity to be out in the fresh air away from the cars and pollution, it is important to take advantage of the clean air. Allow yourself a few moments, where you inhale deeply and exhale in a deliberate manner. 1-5 minute sessions of deliberate breathing practice is enough time to experience the clean fresh air of nature while out on a forest walk.
Don't force think. Just simply be and relax, this is mindfulness at its best. Let your mind wander and don't try to force your thoughts.
Ecotherapy isn't about being a hippie, it's about connecting to Earth and nature because its good for you. The benefits are real, so why not enjoy the beauty of the natural world, in whatever way works best for you.