April 8, 2016

Ecotherapy Alleviates Ecoanxiety

Acacia Brook joyfully anticipates rejoining the ocean just downstream from this special place.
You can hear the water laughing.

I think that everyone should have a special place. For as long as I can remember I have had one. Although it doesn't have to be, it is usually someplace outside in nature. These places provide me with the soothing effects of ecotherapy that I require to overcome ecoanxiety.

One thing I have found while moving from one part of Canada to another, and I imagine it is the same anywhere on our beautiful planet, is that every location has its own share of special places waiting to sooth the ravaged human soul.

A grove of ancient hemlock trees is one of my favourite ecotherapy special places.

My favourite spots are ones that I can get to by walking, snowshoeing, or cycling. 

That includes my current special places that I have discovered since moving to Nova Scotia a couple of year ago. One of my favourites is a 5 km ride from our home (which is at the highest point in the county) down to  sea level where our backyard brook enters the Atlantic ocean.

Acacia Brook in our backyard is about 6 km from the ocean. It is a tranquil place to visit by snowshoe.

These escapes are where I go when I need some down time. Visiting special places in nature I can relax and be absorbed by the landscape, lose myself. After a while I begin to feel balanced and whole, and feel like I can move forward with strength and intention.

Regular visits to a special place in nature will go a long way toward battling whatever ails you, including ecoanxiety. As concern grows over the state of the environment, emotional distress often results. How could it not? What we do to the earth we do to ourselves.

This spot is a quick getaway, close to home. I can walk or bike to this spot. Wheelchair accessible, too.

Enter the healing balm of mother nature.
"A 2007 study from the University of Essex in the U.K., for example, found that a walk in the country reduces depression in 71% of participants. The researchers found that as little as five minutes in a natural setting, whether walking in a park or gardening in the backyard, improves mood, self-esteem, and motivation." - source
We can't help the environment if we don't help ourselves first. I know this as a caregiver for Linda.  So I let nature help me.

We are all caregivers when it comes to the environment. Find yourself a special place. Visit often. Feel the healing. Return the favour.


  1. I wholeheartedly agree with your thoughts, Gregg.

    Many of us know instinctively that we feel good in nature but so many have forgotten. We are now hearing about the healing and anti-inflammatory benefits of walking barefoot on the earth, and of the 'happy' chemicals released in the brain when our skin brushes the foliage as we garden. Wonderful, isn't it? And mother nature gives us this healing and an abundance of beauty for free without demanding anything in return.


    1. The healing effects are so strong that even seeing natural things out your window, or looking at pictures of nature can also yield benefits.

      Green is Good For You - Click Here

  2. Ah, a fellow sit spot sitter! My sit spot is on my patio. I sit out there often, several times a day usually. I had a sit spot at a nearby park and didn't get there as often so I made my backyard area my sit spot. Love seeing the environment change with the seasons. Over the years, I've been privileged to see a wide variety of wildlife right in my backyard including; birds, squirrels, raccoons, opossums, a copperhead snake, a king snake and some garter snakes, voles, rabbits, butterflies, spiders, and many insects. Also included; the moon, stars, the sun, sunsets and rain, snow, hail and storms. I've watch lightening out there too. I've watched leaves burst into being and fall from the trees. Dandelions and wild violets and strawberries. The moment I look out there, I become calm. Everyday it seems different. It is forever changing.

    Jon Young is the one who started calling these special spots in nature sit spots. He encourages all of us to have one like you are doing here.

    Your pictures makes me smile! I can almost hear that river laughing! There is something magical about seeing a river become one with the ocean.

    1. Oops. I posted my reply in the wrong spot. But that is OK because I wanted to thank you for mentioning Jon Young. I will be finding out more about him - he had me at "deep nature connection mentoring".

  3. Back to the one. We all desire this same experience. Being in nature in my "sit spots" reconnects me to that feeling of being one with everything.

    It is awesome to have backyard wildlife - that is quite the list. We have had several ring neck pheasants visit us lately. The old farm we live on, with its open, grassy fields is perfect habitat. They were introduced from Asia off and on from 1865 to the early 1960s. Lots of native birds around, too, as the weather warms a bit.

    Your yard sounds like a beautiful sanctuary. Amazing what you can see when you allow your eye to saunter across the landscape.


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