We live in a world that’s filled with stress. We are constantly on the run, rushing to work, shopping fast and ordering online, spending our hard-earned cash on things we think we need and making our happiness depend on them. No wonder our fast-paced, rushing lifestyle leaves a mark on our wellbeing – we grow more stressed, anxious, and depressed with every day, we have trouble sleeping and coping with all the things life throws at us day after day. But we have a treatment that can help us cope with all of the above: nature. And it’s always at hand.
Nature as therapy
Whenever you are stressed and angry, it is said to be helpful if you “get some fresh air” or “step out for a few minutes”. The change in environment is helpful in putting your mind off your problems, even for a short while, providing quick relief and a literal breath of fresh air. Now imagine what a week or two of stepping outside your usual environment, being surrounded by nothing but trees, mountains, and the icy blue water of Lake Louise can do for you.
A study conducted a few years ago has shown that a walk in nature – a park is good but a national park is certainly better – reduces rumination (a repetitive train of thought associated with depression or mental illness) caused by the “ongoing and chronic stressors associated with the urban experience”.
Animals are good for you
It has been known for a long time that having animals around you is good for your health. Studies have been looking at the positive health effects of having a pet around – a Swedish study published last year has gone as far as showing that dog owners live longer and face a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, among others. But dogs and cats are not the only animals capable of providing us with relief. Equine therapy utilizes equine movement as part of an integrated intervention program to achieve functional outcomes. On one hand, learning to control a horse while riding improves your motor skills like coordination and balance, while also improving posture.
Therapeutic riding is beneficial on its own – and if you do it in a beautiful natural environment, its effects combine with the stress-relieving effects of nature for an even better result.
The elders considered nature the fountain of health – and they were apparently right. Apart from the many beneficial plants, simply exposing yourself to the wonders of nature around you can have amazing effects on your wellbeing. So dig right in – it’s waiting for you.