Earth Day: The Role of Nature in Mental Health
April 22 marks Earth Day, an opportunity for us all to celebrate Mother Nature. While Earth Day is always an important holiday, it feels especially pertinent this year since we have been stuck indoors for the length of the pandemic. Additionally, as issues around climate change worsen and natural disasters intensify, we are reminded of our precious relationship with our one and only home.
On this Earth Day, I invite you to reflect on your relationship with nature and how it can support your mental health. For me, a walk in the woods, unplugged from my electronics and the demands of daily life, can clear any mental chatter. Do you feel a similar sense of peace when you allow yourself to fully experience the natural world? Do you have a “safe space” in nature, whether literal or imagined, where you can rest and recharge? When was the last time you visited that space?
No matter your relationship with nature, it’s hard to deny that we are connected in a deeper way to the natural world around us. Even if you only step outside today to take a few deep breaths (unmasked only if you are alone, of course!), I hope you are able to connect with Mother Nature in a way that refreshes and recharges you.
Happy Earth Day!
Bethany Kriegel, LMHC, earned her master’s degree in mental health counseling from Boston College. She has experience working with adults in residential treatment settings, helping those struggling with eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder, among other issues.
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