Heal Your Soul: Finding Healing in Nature
Theresa Polley
May 19, 2021
August 16, 2023
Self Care

I don’t know about you, but over the last year my stress levels have reached a new high. Instead of healing my body, mind and soul - I’ve been distracting myself. Binge watching shows on Netflix. Scrolling through social media or news. Indulging in wine and more chocolate than usual. My yoga and meditation practice has suffered as I struggled to quiet my mind.

A walk in nature, walks the soul back home. ~ Mary Davis

I realize what's missing in my life is mindful time in nature. Being mindless is all too easy when I'm overwhelmed. Being mindful in nature, means more than just doing an activity in nature and calling it a day. Coffee on my front porch or a walk in the park is nice but if I'm not paying attention does it even count?

Time in Nature is Good For You

Studies show spending time in nature is healing. Here are a few ways that nature is good for us:

  • Strengthens immune system
  • Reduces blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension
  • Relieves stress, anger and fear
  • Alleviates depression and anxiety

While being in nature is good for us, mindfully spending time in nature allows us to heal. Our bodies are meant to be in nature. Watching and observing nature as if we’ve never seen it before, allows us to see ourselves and our life with fresh eyes. The sights, the sounds, the sensations are all around us, we just need to look. 

How to Use Nature as a Tool for Healing

We don’t have to be surrounded by a field of flowers or a forest of trees or a beach or mountain top (although all of these are nice settings) to find healing. Your backyard, a local park or a tree lined street is perfect as long as you're paying attention.

1. Make time

  • Whether it’s five minutes a day or an hour a week your body and mind need it. You deserve it.
  • Put it on your calendar like you would a workout or appointment.
  • Schedule time with a friend to catch up and meet up for a hike or another outdoor activity.

2. Put down your phone

  • Give yourself permission to just be.
  • Notice your urge to take photos or text a friend about how amazing it is.
  • How many times have we missed the moment because we're so busy trying to capture it with the perfect shot?
  • Focus on your breath as you tune out the distractions in your head.

3. Observe 

  • Look around at the trees, the flowers, the sky, the animals - as if you were seeing them for the very first time.
  • Notice textures, colors and movement.
  • Allow yourself time to soak it all in - if you become distracted, focus on your breath.

4. Listen 

  • Close your eyes and listen to the sounds around you, near and far.
  • Notice the silence.
  • Sit in silent meditation for a few moments.

I recently spent some time at the beach. My transformation was almost immediate. Getting away from home and my responsibilities and errands was incredibly freeing. Stepping on to the beach for the first time in two years, my entire being relaxed. My jaw unclenched. My forehead relaxed. My shoulders let go of the weight of the world and all of my worries. I felt lighter immediately. I realized my challenges that seemed insurmountable are just another stepping stone to my future. I feel better able to cope with the ups and downs of my life.

There's so much healing power waiting for you outside your front door. All you have to do is open it, step outside and breathe it all in.

Heal With Nature at a Retreat

At Retreat in the Pines, you’re surrounded by pine trees and peace. If you’re really into nature, we think you’ll love our Grounding & Growth Retreat. No matter what retreat you join us for, you’ll enjoy a weekend full of nature: laying in hammock, going for a nature walk, and getting grounded in an outdoor meditation (weather permitting). View upcoming retreats

This blog is intended to provide helpful suggestions for self care and overall well-being. I am not a mental health professional. If you’re struggling I encourage you to seek the help of a professional. Find a Mental Health Professional | National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: Dial 988

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Theresa Polley

Theresa believes ALL women have the right to live life on their own terms. In 2004, she created Retreat in the Pines to give women a safe space to be their authentic selves without apology while finding the healing and renewal they deserve.

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