Have you ever heard of therapy that is conducted in the great outdoors? We have a beautiful practice here in the Biltmore, but sometimes the temperatures here in Arizona are so scorching we are happy to be inside where it is cool.
However, there has been more and more practices and counselors who are taking their craft outdoors. There have been many studies on the affects of how getting outside and being outdoors can positively impact our lives. The mere fact of just being outdoors have shown to decrease stress levels, soothe mental illness, and increase physical activity. A lot of time spent in the outdoors is spent connecting with others, so the social interaction can be a positive thing in an individuals life as well.
There is a certain sense of calm when we are outside, especially when we are in a space that is green, clean, and quiet. This type of environment can really give us a platform to reconnect with ourselves, be in the moment, and appreciate what is around us that we often forget about when we are running through our busy lives.
There are therapy programs and groups that are held in outdoor environments, like camping in the woods, hiking groups, and even one on one counseling sessions done in a park. The results have shown that these types of activities can lower the stress hormone cortisol, which can be increasingly inflammatory and damaging to our health and our minds. Lowering cortisol can help improve symptoms of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, dementia and anxiety. Often people feel healthier, and stronger after they’ve done something outside. So it’s no wonder taking the calming feeling of just being outdoors, coupled with am individual counseling session or in a group can be successful.
There is an article over at American Psychological Association about how psychologists are using wilderness as a therapeutic tool. Check out that article here. There is also a wonderful article written by Frederick Reimers on Outside Online that explores the topic. We would love to know what you think?
Would you sign up for a therapy session done outside?
Does being outdoors make you happier?
What are your favorite outdoor activities?