Connecting with nature helps reduce anxiety and depression

JUNE 2019 –  BLOG

Beauty and Calm
Beauty and Calm

I tossed and turned last night; my mind wasn’t churning but my hot flushes were.  The alarm went off at 7.25am and before opening my eyes and getting my head off the pillow I decided to go outside – it wasn’t raining – and do my barbell workout for 20 mins rather than get in the car and go to the gym.

Part of me wanted to stay put but I gave that a gentle kick and told ‘it’ (subconscious mind) that I am going outside to do my workout.

10 mins later I was outside in the garden. I had some music playing, for motivation then a waft of honeysuckle grabbed my nostrils followed by roses. I stopped in my tracks and decided to see what other sensations I could find in my small garden.  I wasn’t disappointed.    Yellow Hammer birds and Martens chirped – had to turn music off -and flitted about.  I started noticing the colours around me, the warmth, the sounds of kids moaning about getting ready for school or giggling, dogs barking around.  I literally filled myself with these senses.  I felt grateful for stopping, noticing and appreciating the landscape.

The workout happened – it felt great.  I enjoyed it.  It wasn’t a big session but enough.  I felt tired when I started my day and then I felt energised and happy.

That brings me onto a book I’m currently enjoying.  Lost Connections by Johann Harri.  It’s difficult to distil as it has so much great stuff in it.   There’s lots of good research in at the back too.  It’s all about the causes of anxiety and depression

My latest chapter:  Cause Six Disconnection from Nature.

In essence, a researcher called Isabel Behncke has been studying anxiety and depression in animals who are kept in zoos and those out in the wild.  As you may expect, the captives had higher levels of stress due to unnatural habitat compared to those in the wild.

Interestingly, the same is the case for many humans.  Don’t forget we are still animals despite the fact that we have a superior conscious mind – animals don’t have this, they use learnt behaviour and reward systems.  In the wild it’s a case of ‘hunt or be hunted’.   The wild animals can work as a tribe with their mammal brain.  We have the mammal brain too – the subconscious mind.  That part that recognises a trigger for stress before we even breath in and out.  The bit that causes the fight/flight/freeze response.

So with the human side it seems that those who live in ungreen spaces or work solidly in a concrete pen and don’t get outside have a higher level of stress or depression.   It’s like sitting in a dark cave fretting about what’s going to happen if ………..  It then becomes ‘all about me’ and you are actually giving negative thought energy to your ego.  Its an ego in a prison where no air gets in and no air gets out.  Stagnate. 

Are you sitting there scrolling media or feeling you have to be at your desk otherwise something awful may happen?  Hey, you can worry about things 50 times and go to the meeting, meet the boss, parent, schoolteacher and realise that worrying is a waste of your time and resources.   Oftentimes other people don’t give a toss about your worries.  They’re too concerned about their own ‘worries’.  We live in perception and expectations and the mind doesn’t know what’s real or imagined.   I digress.

Behncke says that people in more rural areas experience less of these problems.   Bit like the zoo -v- wild animals.

This made me realise how important it is to get outside, in all weathers, wherever you are.  Even if the sun isn’t shinning you still get a good dose of Vitamin D by being outside for 10-30 mins.  Maybe a walk round a park would be a good start to the day. 

When you’re out there you realise the outer space is bigger than you.  It puts your own ‘worries’ in perspective.  When you’re noticing wonderful things around you there’s no room for doom and gloom.

If you’d like to do a ‘walk and talk’ to get rid of your heavy sack – come on , seriously, why do you want to keep hold of a heavy sack?  I let mine go because it was outdated and no longer served a purpose.  It only served a purpose for me to get through bullying at secondary school.  I carried it round, becoming heavier by the year until I ‘crashed and burnt’ some years ago.

Contact me on 07801 371246 or via mel@melharrishypnotherapy.co.uk  #changeyourstorychangeyourlife   0000000

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