Most of us are concerned with nature, as therapists. Not only the nature of the self but the natural world to which we all belong. Being in nature is the big thing at the moment, but it's nothing new to many people, it's just that more and more people are realising the benefits of the natural world and that being around nature works in mysterious ways to improve or sustain our mental health.
Walking seems to be the prescribed cure at the moment and whilst walking is great, there are many ways to restore yourself with nature. I grow tomatoes, plant tulip bulbs in the autumn to flower in the spring, sit happily staring at trees either through the window or on the park bench! I have a favourite tree nearby, I like watching the way it changes from season to season.
I also like being in our garden, we have an apple tree in blossom at the moment which is beautiful and stops me in my tracks every time I see it. This is called a family apple tree and it has three different varieties of apple grafted on to it. Looking at this yesterday I was inspired by the bending branches and I thought about how we might all belong to the same tree of life but we all take our own twists and turns. Nature can show us that we're all individual and unique!
Walking for miles is not always the answer for everyone (especially if people are grieving as the grief itself can be exhausting) but I guess what I'm trying to say is that everybody can connect with nature in their own unique personal way.
Sometimes we forget that we're part of the natural world and any experience that reminds us of that is beneficial to our mental health. You might see a beautiful moon and stand in wonder at its beauty, it might just take the birds singing in the trees (as they are now as I write this) to remind us that nature is all around us. During lockdown, even watching a nature programme proved to have positive effects for people. It's a reminder again that we're part of a bigger picture and this sometimes has a soothing effect on the soul. Something as simple as sitting in the sun can be warming and healing for ourselves.
Remember too that even in the darkest times we can all still connect to our essential nature, even indoors you can look out of the window, look up at the sky, look at the house plants, the beauty of the flowers, the leaves and the patterns. Somehow nature holds how we're feeling, some people experiencing extreme sadness often like to walk in the rain, it becomes like the universe is acknowledging how they feel. Sadness is a positive emotion that you don’t need to be afraid of, it's as natural as the falling rain. If you need a good cry whilst outside in the rain the trees won’t mind, they've seen it all before and they survive every season - your mental health can too.
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Views expressed in this article are the views of the writer and not necessarily the views of BACP. Publication does not imply endorsement of the writer’s views. Reasonable care has been taken to avoid errors but no liability will be accepted for any errors that may occur.