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How to Use Nature to Heal from Past Trauma



Nature has a profound impact on our well-being and healing process, particularly in the context of overcoming trauma. As depicted in "The Gift," a narrative deeply intertwined with nature, we can learn to use the environment as a tool for healing and personal growth.


Nature, in and of itself has an innate calming effect proven to reduce stress and anxiety. It induces feelings of awe, which are instrumental in healing from trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is achieved by shifting our focus from the internal turmoil of trauma to the external vastness and beauty of the natural world, thereby reducing feelings of entitlement, arrogance, and narcissism.


Exposure to nature positively affects our mood and physical health. It reduces blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. Moreover, nature not only soothes physical pain but also restores mental energy, improves attention, and fosters a sense of connection and community.


"The Gift," teaches us that nature plays a crucial role in character development and narrative progression. Natural settings can play an instrumental role in the journey of overcoming past trauma. For example: lush forests, towering mountains, and serene waterscapes (just to highlight a few) can all be used as active elements in the healing process. They all can be used to reflect (1) nature's capacity to induce awe, (2) reduce stress, and (3) foster a sense of belonging and connection.


Practical Ways to Engage with Nature

1. Spending Time Outdoors: Just like in "The Gift," where the protagonist finds solace in natural settings, taking walks in the forest or sitting by a lake can be profoundly healing.

2. Cultivating Awe: Engage in activities that induce awe, such as hiking in grand landscapes or watching sunsets.

3. Bringing Nature Indoors: For those who cannot frequently access outdoor spaces, keeping houseplants or viewing pictures of nature can also be beneficial.

4. Mindfulness in Nature: Practice mindfulness or meditation in natural settings to enhance the healing effect.



Conclusion

By embracing the natural world, we can find a path to recovery, appreciating the therapeutic power of nature in healing from trauma and enhancing our well-being. When we immerse ourselves in the tranquility of natural settings, we are not only soothed by the greenery and wildlife (which can provide safe harbors) but also invited to appreciate the divine hand that crafted such splendor. The physical benefits of this communion with nature are palpable—lower blood pressure, reduced heart rate, and eased muscle tension. Yet, it is the spiritual solace that often leaves an indelible mark on our souls, instilling a sense of peace and connection to something greater than ourselves. This dual recognition acts as a powerful catalyst for healing from trauma. This path not only heals our wounds but also rekindles our spiritual essence, reminding us that we are a part of a larger, divinely orchestrated tapestry of life.



This blog incorporates insights from experts in the field of psychology and wellbeing. Special thanks to Anna Drescher, whose work at Simply Psychology has been instrumental in our understanding of the healing process, and to Louise Delagran, MA, MEd, whose contributions at Taking Charge have provided valuable perspectives on the role of nature in health and wellness.

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