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Exploring Nature Therapy in Michigan

Exploring Nature Therapy in Michigan

Exploring Nature Therapy in Michigan

Several studies have found that time spent in nature improves cognitive function, mental health, mood, and emotional health. If you are from Michigan or visiting the area, you can enjoy Michigan’s natural beauty by exploring the state’s unique natural areas. This article explores the importance and benefits of nature therapy and how to find it in Michigan.

What Is Nature Therapy?

As a form of ecotherapy, nature therapy revolves around using nature to heal, especially psychologically. More and more time is spent online and on screens instead of enjoying the natural environment.

Decompressing, letting off steam, or recharging outside has become less common now than it used to be.

The leisurely activities we used to enjoy have been replaced with video games and social media platforms. Consequently, we are a stressed-out society and more prone to mental health issues.

What is the history of nature therapy?

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), ecotherapy, aka, nature therapy, has many potential health benefits.

Nevertheless, nature has always been a healer. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) notes that Ayurveda relies on “natural” or nature-based approaches (such as local, seasonal foods) for physical and mental health.

Chinese medicine, too, believes humans are deeply influenced by the forces of nature, according to Johns Hopkins.

A research review published in Frontiers in Psychology in 2018 found that scenes of nature were associated with positive feelings of friendliness, affection, and joy. In the years since study after study has found nature’s mental health benefits.

How can nature benefit mental health?

Spending time in nature or incorporating it into your everyday life is an excellent strategy for boosting mental health. For instance, simply taking a walk in a park or a forest can help reduce stress and tension and has been linked to improved mood and self-esteem. It can also:

  • Make your mood better
  • Stress and anger can be reduced
  • Relax you and help you take a break
  • Keep your body healthy
  • Get more self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Motivate you to get active
  • Help you meet new people
  • Connect you with your local community
  • Loneliness reduction
  • Connect you to nature
  • Enable peer support

The types of nature therapy

There are many types of nature therapies because they include so many activities. Here are a few:

  • Adventure therapy. Individuals and groups can do this by exploring nature. Examples of adventure therapy include camping, backpacking, rafting, and rock climbing. Adventure therapy can involve physical activities, problem-solving tasks, or creative expression.
  • Interventions or therapy with animals. Spending time with animals can be an excellent way to boost mental health. Examples of animal therapy include pet therapy, equine therapy, dolphin therapy, and bird therapy.
  • Creating things with art. Nature meets creative crafts in this type. Art and Nature Therapy is a type of therapy that combines art and nature to help people express themselves in a creative and healing way. It is a form of therapy that uses nature’s calming and inspiring effects to help people explore their emotions, release stress, and find meaning in their lives.
  • Conservation. The goal of conservation is to protect nature and get active.
  • Dark nature. Nighttime activities like stargazing are part of dark nature.
  • Green exercise. You’ll do physical activities in green spaces. For example, walking, bike riding, or other outdoor physical activities.
  • Therapeutic farming. Farming activities include growing crops and taking care of animals.
  • Therapeutic horticulture. Gardening is involved so that you might grow food in community gardens. Therapy horticulture sometimes leads to other activities, like selling homegrown stuff at farmer’s markets.
  • Wilderness therapy. This type of therapy is usually a group activity where you hike, make shelters, and other wildness activities.

Why Michigan is the Perfect Spot for Nature Therapy

Here are some reasons why Michigan is the ideal place for nature therapy:

Natural wonders

Michigan is full of natural wonders, making it an ideal destination for nature therapy. The state has four national parks, like the impressive Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and Isle Royale National Park. Visitors can immerse themselves in the breathtaking beauty of sandy shores, towering dunes, and lush forests. Michigan also features various state parks, like Tahquamenon Falls State Park and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. These parks offer many opportunities for outdoor exploration, hiking, and wildlife observation.

Forests

Michigan’s dense forests provide a serene setting for nature therapy. The Huron-Manistee National Forest, spanning over a million acres, offers a tranquil escape from city life. This natural setting allows people to relax and connect with the natural world. There are miles of trails to hike, rivers to explore, and wildlife to observe, all of which can help to reduce stress and improve mental health.

The Great Lakes

Michigan’s most natural and well-known treasures include its Great Lakes: Superior, Huron, Michigan, Erie, and Ontario. With over 3,000 miles of shoreline, visitors can participate in various water activities, such as kayaking, swimming, and boating. These Great Lakes are home to many species of fish and other aquatic life, making them popular destinations for fishing, as well. The Great Lakes are also crucial for transportation, providing a shipping route for goods and services between Michigan and its neighboring states and Canada.

Takeaway

If you are looking to undergo nature therapy, there is no better spot than the state of Michigan. Michigan has many natural and impressive wonders that appeal to all nature lovers. Nature can boost your mental health and improve many aspects of your life.

At LGBTQ and ALL, we have several mental health professionals based in Michigan that can help you enhance your mental health. For example, Dreaming Tree Counseling is a queer-owned therapy practice in Michigan that offers virtual and in-person queer-allied and gender-affirming therapy. Their therapists specialize in trauma, complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and its various manifestations, like anxiety, depression, attachment issues, difficulty forming and maintaining relationships, low self-esteem, and pervasive guilt and shame.

In addition, Rooted In Change Therapy offers Online Therapy in Michigan and Florida. To build intimacy and connection, they provide affirming therapy for LGBTQ+, Polyamory, ENM, CNM, Kink, and neurodiversity.

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