Therapy in Nature
Sitting in my office; It’s nighttime and quiet here. I hear the donkey bray, “Time to bring me in!” I thought I could leave him and his mini-pony pal out tonight- it’s warm and the weather is fair. The mini-pony snorts as if to say “I’m cool. I don’t need a stall to chill”. I love being attuned to my hearing senses when it feels calming for me.
The creek babbles down below the meadow. We don’t often hear that during sessions. So many of the people who come to Horses and Healing tell me how much they appreciate the view from my office. We assume that my current office space used to be a back porch on this log structure. Windows look out onto the meadow and the pasture. When the horses are out it can be entertaining. The myriad of birds that visit Walnut Hallow Farm are always flitting about, and the cats are usually stalking something in the tall grass. So much to take in!
What’s to be said about being exposed to nature as part of healing, even when you choose to be inside? Spending time in nature has been shown to decrease stress levels, depressive symptoms, and anxiety. It decreases blood pressure and reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol in our bodies. Images and sounds of a natural environment have been shown to decrease stress in people who are exposed to negative stimuli (Ulrich, Zelson (1991). At Horses and Healing the option is there to immerse yourself in the natural environment but for some folks that isn’t possible for various reasons. Nature is still accessible indoors through various methods of exposure. Let’s start with the windows.
Photo courtesy of “Set Me Dreaming Photography”.