Nature Therapy Methods
We are such a culture of “busy.” We have to find time for work, school, social obligations, errands, etc.
On this episode of Calm, Cool and Connected- Sarah Ivens is here to help us slow down and embrace nature.
Key Takeaways from Dr. Fedrick’s 1-on-1 with Sarah:
All of this and more, on this episode of Calm, Cool and Connected.
For more information on Dr. Sarah Ivens, visit her website: https://strangersguide.com/contributors/sarah-ivens/
Connect with Dr. Ivens on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sarahlucyivens/?hl=en
For more information on Dr. Fedrick, visit her website https:// www.evolvecounselingaz.com/dr-elizabeth-fedrick.
Connect with Dr. Fedrick on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/drelizabethfedrick/
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Dr. Fedrick: Hello and welcome to calm. Cool and connected. I'm your host, Dr. Elizabeth. We are such a culture of busy. We have to find the time and energy to go to work, to take care of our homes in our families. Maybe do some physical activity, engage in all the social obligations and on and on this hardly leaves us with any time to go outside, to get fresh air or to just enjoy nature.
Our next guests are Ivan's is the [00:01:00] best-selling author of force therapy, seasonal ways to embrace nature for a happier you Sears. Sarah is here to talk about the tremendous benefits of nature, as well as the concept of forest bathing and the value of this practice. Hi, Sarah. Welcome. Hi, thank
Dr. Sarah Ivens: you for having me.
Dr. Fedrick: Thank you so much for being here. So your book sounds really fascinating before we jump in. Tell me a little bit about you and the work that you're currently doing in
Dr. Sarah Ivens: the. Well, my work really came about for very, very personal reasons that about 10 years ago I had a very stressful job. I was running a Wiki magazine in New York city.
And even though my life looks marvelous and exciting and glamorous, I was kind of miserable. I felt very, very great. And I knew that the big thing that I removed from my life, the one thing that I hadn't added was. Nature. I'd sort of cut myself off from this life that I had when I was growing up in England, where I was very connected to the forest behind my parent's house, and very connected to being outside [00:02:00] and observing the weather and animals and just the natural world in general.
And I'd cut myself off from that. And I felt within me, it's like mounting stress and anxiety, and I knew I had to do something about it. So this was about 10 years ago. I started Understanding what was going wrong in my life and trying to research how to get it back into my life. And at this time I was also trying to get.
And it wasn't happening for me. And I started reading papers about infertility as well and what you could do to help yourself and help your body just be all around healthier. And I read a lot about nature therapy at that point, too. So, so my love for forest therapy and connecting with nature comes from a really, really personal place that I needed it.
Dr. Fedrick: And so then you realized that this had helped you personally tremendously. And so this led then to research around, I'm assuming this is where [00:03:00] your book was generated.
Dr. Sarah Ivens: Yes. So around the time that I then started incorporating into my own daily life and talking about it a lot with friends and with parents that, because I then got pregnant and with the people that I was surrounding my.
The way in my life. At the same time I was doing a PhD and so research became an everyday part of my routine. And I thought when I'm researching the changing social policy for women in Britain, in the 20th century, which was what my thesis was about, I'm going to start researching what. When I go out for 20 minute walk every day, I feel calmer.
I'm going to start researching why, when I you know, wrap up warm, even when it's cold and sit on my porch to read rather than being. While I sleep better at night. So I started doing all this research and I got, I became a bit obsessed. I read hundreds and hundreds of academic papers and studies and research statistics.
And then I distilled them down to my [00:04:00] book, which is called forest therapy, which really offers everyone from busy parents working, you know, moms or couples that need to reconnect that finding they're missing each other. And. Space that we're all in where we like, you know, we work and then we're on our social media and we're not connecting with each other or with the natural world around us.
I gathered all this research that proved why. Why this was so bad for us and why we needed to go back to doing basically what we all did as children. When he know when you were a child, you run and jump in muddy puddles, you love the sound of the rain. You get excited by a thunderstorm. You like chase your friends with sticks that you find in the forest, and then suddenly we're outdoors.
And we're like, we're too smart for that. Now we're going to just stare at a screen for three hours. Is that really.
Dr. Fedrick: So, how would you describe forest therapy? Like if you were to just boil that down to, you know, a brief description, what would that
Dr. Sarah Ivens: be? It's a [00:05:00] forest therapy is about reconnecting with nature and bathing your senses in it.
So I'm not talking about, you have to go climb a mountain or you have to go, you know, wild swimming in some freezing pond for three hours. I'm talking about literally taking your coffee outside. In the morning, rather than going straight onto your laptop. What about going out into your front garden and just actually observing the weather or listening to the birds?
Seeing if there's any different sort of like bees and butterflies whatever's happening around your neighborhood. It can be as simple as like 20 minutes a day. I promise. Instead of meeting a friend for coffee, how about grabbing the coffee to go and going for walk with that coffee and there. So there's so many different tweaks and it's about, you know, the sounds that can help you relax.
It's about the sites. Change how your brain works and how your brain connects to the world around you. It's about the feeling of, you know, a light breeze on your skin or getting caught in a rainstorm it's about phasing, your senses in [00:06:00] nature and the numerous things that this helps.
Dr. Fedrick: And so it sounds like it's really like a practice of mindfulness.
Dr. Sarah Ivens: I mean, absolutely. I would love it if it was always often now I have you know, a nine year old and a seven year old often. It's not mindful at all. It's more like, please don't chase your sister with that. Like really long, dangerous looking stick on those phones. Right. So often it's not very mindful at all times.
Sometimes it is. So every morning now I, you know, I was paying a gym membership and going to a gym with a friend and we just decided. Last year, instead of doing that, we have a beauty spot. That's a kind of, a bit of a hike is a bit off-putting. But how about we do that every morning? And we just walk, hike through the trees up speed spot, take a minute to look at the Colorado river I'm in Austin, Texas.
So we hike up, have a beautiful view of the river, and then we hike our way down again. So you know, that's how I incorporate it into my daily life. And that aspect with a friend who will be quiet when, [00:07:00] when needed is mindful. Other times when I drag my children away from the school gates and say, right, we're playing outside for half an hour, an hour, even though sometimes they're hungry or they're tired, or they want to look at screen.
I'm like, no, no, you'll always feel better. You never regret getting outside into nature.
Dr. Fedrick: No. Well, so it sounds like it's something that's just very, it's very, very feasible. It's something that anyone can do. Like you're saying, you're not suggesting that people have to go to a forest every day, but just getting in the fresh air is, sounds like that's the
Dr. Sarah Ivens: crucial part.
Well, there's so many studies that show that even just looking at a scene from nature. For a few minutes a day helps you, it lowers your cortisol levels. It boosts the serotonin in your body. So, you know, even if you can't get outside, even if the weather really is, off-putting just sitting by a window and observing how the clouds are moving or listening to the rain, [00:08:00] looking out at a sea of green or blue.
I mean, even those. Have positive effects on your mood. And it, I call it a green prescription. So I say to me and my kids, I'm like, right, we've all got a green prescription. Now we have to get a certain amount of connection with nature every day. Cause it will help us. It helps us get our light low based, our low mood.
It helps get rid of anxiety. It helps us move our bodies. It helps us sleep better. And then when you're actually outside as well, you know, it boost your vitamin D something that we so lacking. There's, there's nothing. Nothing at all, apart from maybe Stan, you know, getting stung by mosquitoes that can go wrong.
We're like, you know, you're in nature just in peace, every part of your wellbeing. Yes.
Dr. Fedrick: So many benefits. What are some ideas that you, you give to people? So I hear, you know, just get outside or go for walks. What are some other I saw in your book, you have different ideas for like each season. So. What would be a couple of those ideas that you give to people that's out of the, [00:09:00]
Dr. Sarah Ivens: yeah, well, I'm a big fan of taking indoor activities outside.
We sort of, we get stuck in habits or mindsets that we have to do things in insight that really can be adapted outside easily. So for example, my son is a huge Lego fanatic. But instead of him, you know, going up to his bedroom and building a castle, I sort of encouraged him to take it outside.
And then, you know, a castle. Again, getting out into nature, really boosts children's imagination as well. That's why so many schools are encouraging outdoor learning and even you know, big businesses now are taking their business meetings outside. So I tell him to take his Lego outside and then of course, Made out of plastic bricks can suddenly have a moat.
It can suddenly be on a hill, you know, and my daughter, the same with her dolls or even her like she's super into bunnies. So she has her stuffed bunnies. And instead of having her teapot in the kitchen, she has it out in the forest. We can chat, like walk to a little bit and chat with her friends and they have like their tea parties in the forest.
So, and again, Things that you [00:10:00] traditionally think you have to do inside, like meeting a friend for coffee or going to the gym or having a work meeting, they can all be easily transferred outside. And I think the, you know, the couple of years we've all had has really, this has been the biggest benefit for me.
People have really embraced the idea of being outside. They want to feel healthier and happier and don't know how. Well, I love so much about forest therapy is as you touched on and it doesn't cost any money, you don't need to have certain equipment. You don't need to be a certain fitness level or age or gender or anything.
It's there for everyone. And really just adding 20 minutes a day, we'll have it. If change everything from your, your mood, your level of gratitude instantly, there is nothing that.
Dr. Fedrick: That's such good information. Thank you so much. Where can our viewers find more about you and where can they find your book?
Dr. Sarah Ivens: Well, I'm on Instagram and I'm always posting pictures [00:11:00] of like beautiful wildlife or, you know, beaches, lakes, rivers, et cetera. So I'm on Instagram. So please follow me there. And then my book is in all good shops and I'm on websites now. And what's your Instagram handle it? Sarah Lucy. Ivan's perfect.
Dr. Fedrick: Well, thank you so much, Sarah, for being here.
Dr. Sarah Ivens: appreciate it. Thank you.
Dr. Fedrick: And thank you all for tuning into this episode of calm, cooling, connected. Please make sure to find us on Facebook and Instagram and also make sure to rate and subscribe to our podcast so that others can discover our content as well. Thank you again for joining us on this episode of calm.
Cool and connected. .