Unplugging to Plug Into Nature

What is your relationship with nature? This is one of the main questions we ask ourselves in Ecotherapy. Spending too much time indoors (and on electronics) can be harmful for both your physical and mental health. There is growing evidence to the health benefits of spending time in nature and that is why some doctors are prescribing it to their clients. Oftentimes we forget to really take in our surroundings, listen to the birds, and appreciate the natural beauty around us.  When you immerse yourself into nature, do you often feel calmer and at ease? There are biological reasons behind this; humans are meant to be in nature! This is why we need to Unplug in order to plug into nature!


What is Ecotherapy?

Ecotherapy can be described simply as “the healing and growth nurtured by healthy interactions with the earth”. * Ecotherapy consists of using nature as a metaphor for aspects of our own lives. It is about a mutual relationship with the earth. What are we doing to give back to nature? What is our connection? Ecotherapy incorporates mindfulness exercises, grounding techniques and practices these coping skills with the outdoor setting.  Nature also takes it’s course by providing us with healing healthy elements.


  •       Resource: According to Howard Clinebell, who wrote a 1996 book on the topic, “ecotherapy” refers to healing and growth nurtured by healthy interaction with the earth.


What are the benefits?

lower cortisol rates and lower rates of stress 

-heart rates and blood pressure decrease

-lower symptoms of ADHD

– increase general happiness and sense of well being

-sleep improvements

– better immune system function

– exposure to Vitamin D

– increased exercise

-Outdoor air (fresh air)

– improvement of mood

-decrease anxiety and depression symptoms


How can you incorporate nature into your life?

Make it a habit and routine! Schedule your nature date into your daily planner so that it is implemented. Depending on your schedule, you can start your day by waking up earlier and going for a walk in your neighborhood or nearby park. Take your lunch break (that’s right, leave your desk) and go for a walk and eat your lunch outside. After dinner make it a family function (dogs included) and head out for a walk. On the weekends, make an effort to discover a new park that you have never been to or try a kayaking class! There are many volunteer organizations that include beach and park cleanups. When you are not able to go outside: open a window, bring plants into your home, set up a bird feeder next to your window, and listen to nature soundscapes.


Interested in experiencing Ecotherapy?

Great! We provide Ecotherapy and conduct sessions outdoors. Sessions will take place at various Monmouth County parks. During the session, you will spend unerupted time away from your electronics and  be immersed in nature. Experience the healing effects of nature while on your healing journey with your therapist. You will learn coping skills, mindfulness based practices, grounding techniques, eco-art therapy, and gain new insights about oneself. Ecotherapy is welcoming if you are new to nature activities and if you are already an outdoor enthusiast. To find out more information please contact us at https://operationhopenj.com/contact-us/ 


Thank you and we look forward to seeing you out on the trail! 


By: Brooke Lichter, LCSW