The Healing Power of Nature on Mental Health

the medicinal effect of following nature’s call

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Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

Joshua Tree is a popular tourist destination especially for hikers.

It also has a funky charm to it and attracts a diverse group of people from retirees, working class, artists and families.

Each time I go to Joshua Tree I have a reoccurring thought.

There’s nothing special about the desert but yet it tugs on my heart strings.

I am a firm believer that nature calls to us for a particular reason that only we will know when we go.

Research shows that being outdoors can have a positive effect on our mental health such as decreasing brain activity associated with depression.

After my first visit to Joshua Tree I fell in love.

It was the kind of love that you find when you aren’t looking.

I didn’t know why I needed to go to Joshua Tree.

I just knew I felt drawn to it.

I never imagined myself to be a desert person being a small-town girl I was always attracted to big cities.

However I think when you listen to nature calling you are answering a spiritual call from the universe.

Sometimes it’s hard to explain why we feel what we feel and how it drives us to make certain decisions.

My first visit to Joshua Tree was with my boyfriend for our 1 year anniversary.

What I thought would be a celebration of our anniversary also turned into an eye-opening spiritual experience.

I was pleasantly and unexpectedly surprised by the magic of the desert.

The Joshua Trees that surrounded us felt like sacred guardians of the land.

They carried a deep and profound wisdom.

Their grand trunks showed signs of wear from the weather.

They held a power on being solid, still and rooted.

I wanted that. I craved that more than anything in life.

While Joshua Tree doesn’t have the business of a big city it has its own special kind of beauty.

A simple way of being.

The landscape is sandy and dusty.

If you go in spring you will find a diverse collection of wildflowers in bloom.

It is home to creatures like the jack rabbits, coyote and rattlesnake.

The sunsets and sunrises are like watching a meditative masterpiece of vibrant oranges, deep reds, rose golds, lavender purples and violet tones.

The night sky is lit up with shooting stars, wispy clouds and if you are lucky a moon so bright it illuminates everything.

There is nothing but space and Joshua Trees.

The land asks nothing from you.

You are left to be with yourself.

You don’t have to pretend to be anything but yourself.

Nature invites you to be in relationship with your surroundings.

Nature invites you to be aware. To be more observant. To be conscious of life.

To be present.

Nature does not hurry yet everything is accomplished.

— Lao Tzu

In my visits to Joshua Tree a quiet peace emerges in my mind and body.

A natural synchronizing of my mind, body and spirit occur.

My visits to the desert are meditative and magical.

For someone who has had anxiety, depression and PTSD being in the desert naturally slows my thoughts down.

Many studies have shown nature can improve mental health including positive effects on mood, memory and reducing anxiety.

When I am there my mind is not living in the past.

It doesn’t wander to the future.

It daydreams.

I let go.

My body breathes naturally with ease.

I can sign and feel weightless in form.

I am effortlessly present.

I wake up in excitement to watch the sunrise.

I feel a deeper gratitude for life.

I feel a sense of home and oneness with the universe.

I think each of us has a place of peace we go to for serenity.

And once we find it we must hold onto it.

While the desert isn’t anything special it is my spiritual home and sanctuary.

And for you, there may be a place in nature that you effortlessly go to.

A place you can fall apart. Be still. Listen.

Breathe.

Written by

Self-help & mental health writer. Can't do small talk. Mama. Yogi. Coffee lover. Nature explorer. Get my free meditation mini-course here: www.emilystroia.com

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