Nature has always seemed to have a rejuvenating effect on the mind, but a new study at Stanford has found scientific evidence that supports that claim. Suggesting that nature could be used to help heal from abuse.
In the Stanford study, the researchers split participants into two groups and had them go for 90-minute walks in either a natural or urban setting. The natural group walked in a grassland area with oak trees interspersed and the urban group walked along a four-lane highway.
Researchers were not able to find any physiological differences between the two; however, they did discover differences in brain activity. The natural group displayed decreased activity in areas of the brain where repetitive thoughts and negative emotions are processed.
This is a good sign for those who have suffered from abuse. It means that simply being out in nature can help on the path to recovery.
Here are 5 ways to use nature to heal from abuse:
One: Take a Walk
Do exactly what the participants of this study did. Many state parks have dedicated nature walks that are just waiting to be used. It’s also a form of exercise, which has been proven to be beneficial.
Two: Sit on a Bench
Even the world’s largest cities have parks where you can enjoy nature. Find a bench in one where you can sit and absorb nature. There are areas even in Central Park where you can completely forget that you’re in the city.
Three: Plan a Picnic
On your day off pack a favorite meal, find your favorite outdoor space, and just have a nice, leisurely meal. Not being in a rush to eat a meal is a wonderful and freeing feeling. You can get an extra boost by bringing your guilty pleasure dessert. Many cities plan concerts and theatre in the park during summertime.
Four: Meditate Outside
Through the years, meditation has proved to be a constructive tool for recovery. Go outside, find a serene place, and block out the rest of the world. Start with 5 minute sessions and slowly work your way up to longer sessions. Remember, meditation is hard; it’s okay to struggle.
Five: Take an Outdoor Yoga Class
Yoga is a phenomenal way to get to know your body, how it works, and what it needs. Don’t worry if you can’t bend quite as deeply as the instructor; they’re the professional and they almost always show you a less intense variation. Remember: your body’s capabilities and limitations fluctuate from day to day.
We hope these help you during your recovery process! While we have found these helpful in our own recovery, each person will have their own unique path to heal from abuse. If you are struggling and need help, contact a professional today.