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Anxiety is normal construct of the mind. However, anxiety symptoms, thoughts and feelings that run the way you view daily interaction are not. Anxiety can present itself anywhere in your body. We’ve all heard of “butterflies in my stomach,” that’s anxiety. “Racing thoughts,” anxiety. “Pounding in my chest,” anxiety. “This stress is too much, I feel like I’m drowning”, anxiety. Sometimes the anxiety becomes so much that those thoughts, feelings, and symptoms turn into panic. Which can feel like “I can’t breathe, my heart is racing, I can’t think straight, and/or I feel like I’m going to die.”
Some people say their anxiety started out of nowhere while others have had a traumatic event that was a catalyst for their mind and body's anxiety response. Either way, it is important to learn life skills and coping strategies that work for you to help calm the somatic nervous system and bring you back into a feeling of calm and control over your thoughts, feelings and minimize the symptoms.
You may be wondering how nature comes into play in treatment for anxiety and traumatic experience processing. It is no secret that humans need sunlight, fresh air and water, movement and connection to thrive.
Ecotherapy allows for the mind and body to be in a safe and supportive space in nature while learning to bring your thoughts and attention to the present moment, otherwise known as mindfulness. Throughout the journey you will learn mindfulness skills to help ground yourself and move away from the anxiety driven thoughts which keep your body and mind in the fight, flight or freeze response even when there is no immediate risk of danger.
You do not need to be an “outdoorsy” person to connect to nature. You do not need to be “Zen” or meditate to be mindful and present. You do need to be ready for change. Ready to put in the work for yourself, for your own mental health, and growth. And ready to make a commitment to making yourself a priority.