There are easy ways for you to improve your mood this year. Feeling the blues lately? Not getting enough vitamin D this season? Mother Nature has many healing benefits for depressed moods. Have you ever gone to the beach on a beautiful day and immediately felt better? The ocean and beach have therapeutic benefits that go beyond immediate relief. Immersing yourself in nature on a regular basis is a healthy coping skill you can use in order to combat depression and ease anxiety.
Go to the ocean to think
If you are looking for a place to dig deep into your thoughts, the beachfront is a perfect quiet location for introspection. The wind is blowing and the waves are crashing. The sounds create a very soothing atmosphere. Take your journal and write about what is troubling you. Pick a spot and meditate to the sounds of the water. If you go at night, the lights are dim and it creates lighting conducive to going within. What is your favorite part of the ocean?
Go into the woods to become grounded
If you are feeling out of control with your emotions, getting grounded is an important step. Going for walk or hike in nature is a great way to reconnect with your roots. This is another place to bring a journal and write about what comes up for you. You can also pick a part of the woods, sit down and meditate to the sounds of the nature. Going into the woods will help you become connected to yourself and to the world around you. Take time out to really absorb the greens around you and connect using all five of your senses. Being mindfully aware of your surroundings helps to reduce anxiety, both in the short-term and long-term.
Use the water to connect with your inner child
Depending on where you grew up, water may have been a big part of your childhood. Do you remember going to pool parties as a kid or making your way to the closest beach in the summers? Look back into your childhood for memories surrounding water, pools, water parks or oceans. Think about how you felt in the water and what you liked about it. If you loved doing cannonballs into the pool, find a pool and do cannonballs. If you loved to swim, then go swimming. Having a healthy connection with your inner child is another way to reduce depression and anxiety.
Watch the stars to create romance
What is more romantic that getting a blanket, laying it outside and looking up at the stars? Ask your significant other to do just that with you. Lay close together on your blanket. The proximity of your bodies will release feel good chemicals into your body. Spending time outside, with your significant other and doing something out of the ordinary is a trifecta for improving your mood.
Find a happy place in nature
Don’t live by the ocean? Don’t have any great memories from your childhood surrounding water? Deathly scared of spiders that are often in the woods? You can use visualizations as a way to connect with nature. Find a meditation that will bring you to your happy place and use your favorite spot in nature. This is effective during the winter months when your favorite lake is frozen over or it’s just too cold to go to the beach. Find ways to stay connected to nature, even if you can’t make it out there when you want to. Put your background screen as your favorite picture from nature. Create a vision board from travel magazines of places you want to visit that incorporate the outside world.
How will you connect with nature today?
Amanda Patterson, LMHC, CAP , Mental Health Counselor of the Year by the Florida Mental Health Counseling Association, decided to become a therapist while attending Nova Southeastern University. She saw the need to help people achieve the life they wanted to live, while creating a life of her own. She completed her master’s in Mental Health Counseling and started a career in the juvenile justice arena. Amanda has been a therapist for ten years and has a private practice in Wellington, Florida, specializing in depression, anxiety, relationship issues, and substance abuse in teenagers and young adults. Amanda is a believer in holistic treatment and she practices veganism, meditation and yoga in her life. Find out more about her practice here.