Let nature heal your mental health

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I felt an accumulation of nausea in the pit of my stomach since the beginning of this year. It brought horrible auxiliary elements like fatigue, anxiety and strange sadness. My initial internet-based self-diagnosis revealed that I was suffering from the bitterness of post-Covid symptoms.

But the unstoppable unease steadily climbed to new heights as winter turned into spring and then summer. Discouraged, irritable, dissociated and struggling to find meaning and purpose in my life, I was perhaps facing my very first existential crisis.

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A shy voice in the back of my head whispered to me: you are not alone. Every day, countless people go through this horrific ordeal. Opening up about mental health can be a Herculean task in itself. Talking helps, but finding empathetic people with loving, caring ears to lend, in this tumultuous world, is one hell of a treasure hunt. Professional help is expensive, it may not even be conducive. And so we suffer, curled up in what we consider our own mud.

No two people experience psychogenic disharmony in the same way, and so dealing with it is different for each individual. For me, like many of us, the antidote was nature itself. I had a tantrum one morning when I saw that the only plant in our house was almost dead. The word “death” gnawed at my heart, making me cry uncontrollably. Suddenly, the presence of the word ‘almost’ appeared to me, like a revelation. Thus, the process of spreading and eventually resuscitating the plant to life began, as did my healing.

Maintaining my withered plant was actually nourishing me. By working on it, I relearned patience and perseverance. I discovered how silence stopped the cacophony in my head. The proximity of this plant, so small and so discreet, taught me to value each brown leaf next to each green leaf. As harmless as they may seem, weeds are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Water is life, but it destroys too much of it, so is sunlight. I understood the universality of these lessons when I started walking, sometimes barefoot, in the park that I had abandoned when I was ten years old. And now, a decade later, I’m back there looking at the same trees that cared for me as I played under their canopy of leaves as a child. That voice in the back of my head, so uncertain before, whispered to me again, now confidently: you are not alone. Many articles on how therapeutic nature can be ensured reassured me that I was on the right track.

Ecotherapy is a meditative approach of observing and emulating the greater nature; to carry a terrarium inside of us at all times, so to speak. Basking in the sanctity of the outdoors reduces allergies, obesity, depression, juvenile delinquency and various types of addiction, experts say. The essentiality of immersing oneself in the warm embrace of nature is also found in the cottagecore aesthetic. Followers of this fashion romanticize the silence of the blue hour, the soothing chirping of birds, and overall being one with Mother Nature.

Nature promises a tripartite healing that involves the revivification of mind, body and spirit. In times that allow no respite, sometimes sniffing a bouquet of wildflowers can do wonders.

Reference:

The Guardian (June 17, 2014). Ecotherapy: how does the great outdoors improve mental health?

Mastura thinks Hozier himself is a balladic masterpiece. Tell him you are ok at [email protected]

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