Transform PTSD with the Power of Nature
Posted by Michele Rosenthal
Friday, October 7th, 2011 • PTSD Guest Post: Professional Perspective •
Guest post by Tabitha Jayne (Next week’s guest on YOUR LIFE AFTER TRAUMA.)
When working towards healing and overcoming PSTD, connecting with nature daily can have a powerful positive effect upon your recovery. It’s the one thing that truly allowed me to let go of the trauma of my brother dying in a car crash. By being in nature I was able to disconnect from what was going on, process my loss and let go of my pain. It had such a transformative effect upon my life that now, in my professional life, I combine the use of nature as a therapeutic tool within grief and loss.
Being out in nature allows us to tap into the earth’s electro-magnetic frequency. What is amazing about this frequency is that it resonates at the same level our minds do when we mediate. We can achieve all the benefits of meditation, a healthier immune system, reduction in stress and pain and increase in peace simply by putting ourselves out in nature. Indeed a study by the University of Essex in 2007 highlighted that a daily walk in nature could be as effective for mild/moderate depression as anti-depressants!
As soon as you step outside into nature you start experiencing these benefits. Yet to fully tap into the transformative power of nature you need to stop the mind thinking about the past or the future and engage the mind in the experience of the present whilst outside.
Dr Micheal J. Cohen, the pioneer of applied ecopsychology (the use of nature to promote personal, social and environmental well-being) has developed a simple but powerful process to do exactly this. It’s one that I incorporate into all my work combining nature and grief and loss.
Before going out into nature acknowledge whether it is attractive for you to do so. We all find difference aspects of nature attractive. Some of us may prefer the ocean, others a mountain. Some of us may like walking in the rain, others may hate it. Going where you are attracted to is the first key in tapping fully into Nature’s healing energy.
Where is your favourite nature spot?
When you think about this place, how does it make you feel?
The next step is to actually go there. Sounds simple but how often do you think of doing something only to get distracted. Albert Einstein said that the sign of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. If what you are doing in the moment isn’t fully supporting your recovery from PSTD then why not give nature a chance. Nothing ventured…
When can you commit to going outside to your favourite nature spot?
After arriving at your nature spot take a moment to acknowledge internally if you feel safe there. Pay attention to how you gain this sense of security. If you don’t feel safe, move on to another area until you do.
What are your signs to know that you feel secure?
Once you feel secure start interacting with the nature in the area. Use all of your senses to explore your surroundings. Whilst we are told we only have five senses, research has in fact show that we actually have 53 natural senses. Modern society teaches us to ignore these. Re-activating these senses allows us to fully tap into the power of nature. You can do this simply by becoming aware of them. The more senses you can consciously activate, the more powerful your experiences in nature will be.
What senses do you notice when you are out in nature?
Journaling about your experience afterwards then helps solidify it within your mind. By reflecting upon what happened, anything you may have learned from it and how this could help your PSTD you gain greater depth and insight.
What can you learn from your previous times out in nature that you’ve really enjoyed?
Sharing with experience with someone else who is also attracted to doing the exercise further helps solidify the benefits of nature within your psyche. It helps both your left and right hemispheres of the brain process the experience and reinforces any benefits from your time out in nature.
Who could you share your experience with?
If you get the urge to take action from the experience then do so. From giving yourself space to engage with nature you might just arrive at a powerful conclusion about steps you can take to help further your PSTD recovery.
What actions are you inspired to take from your time out in nature?
All of this may sound simple. Yet such a simple process can have powerful results. I know this through both my own experience and that of others. By trying this you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I would love to hear about your experiences if you do try this. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org and also access my free report on 5 simple strategies to thriving loss at www.tabithajayne.com.
Tabitha Jayne is a leading expert in the field of grief and loss coaching, having first developed an interest in the topic following the sudden death of her younger brother, Peter in a car crash. A certified professional coach, she is currently working towards a PhD in Applied Ecopsychology and Coaching specialising in Grief and Loss. She’s the author of Thriving Loss: move beyond grief to a place of peace, passion and purpose.