Earth Day: Connecting with Nature is Fundamental to Wellness

April 21, 2017

Happy Earth Day! Earth Day reminds us of our inextricable relationship with the natural world and our responsibility to safeguard the planet and its inhabitants. In the long run, we can only be as healthy as our planet.

Here, at the Center for Mind Body Medicine, we understand that our connection with nature is fundamental. And, as with all of the Mind-Body Medicine techniques we teach, we draw on established research as well as folk wisdom to support holistic health. For example, Ecotherapy, which is a synthesis of ecopsychology and psychotherapy, uses nature-based interventions to promote physical and emotional wellbeing. Research in this field has demonstrated that cortisol levels may decrease by twice the threshold, pain levels may be alleviated by fourfold, and blood pressure may be lowered. Our connection with the Earth is essential to personal and relational wellness—wherever we live.

In each community where we work, CMBM’s trainings are integrated with the distinctiveness of the local cultures and practices. For example, on Pine Ridge Reservation, we honor indigenous values, the sacredness of Nature, and appreciation for the oneness of all people. In this context, actions—such as beginning our days with sacred ceremonies, burning sweetgrass in our group rooms, and using language that honors our interconnectedness—enrich and expand our model. It is possible that the resilience and hope of indigenous communities—on Pine Ridge and elsewhere—is a testament to the therapeutic power of Nature.

We value this principle in all of our programs. During our Food As Medicine training, we discuss the importance of a high plant-based diet to promote wellness. During our professional trainings, we may practice Mindful Walking to remind ourselves to walk gently on the Earth, with care and attention. The CMBM model is based on the importance of self-care, self-awareness, and group support to bring presence and connection to ourselves and the world around us.

As we celebrate Earth Day, the staff at the Center for Mind Medicine reminds you to take a mindful pause to put yourself in the present moment. We encourage you to tend to gardens, walk in your neighborhood and observe the new Spring blooms, and sit outside and practice a few minutes of Soft Belly breathing. Enjoy the opportunity to be in sync with the natural rhythms of nature and your body. We honor the Earth—and your journey on Her.