A couple of years ago my depression really got on top of me, in such a different way than I’d been used to. For years I had associated my depression with my social anxiety and while that had mostly been the case it wasn’t 100% true.
It was after a round of CBT that I realised something important; I wasn’t getting enough nature.
The therapy allowed me to become more confident and to strip back my anxieties, not completely but a substantial amount, enough to live my day to day life fairly comfortably. It was then I started to feel completely downbeat and upset over being “comfortable”. I didn’t want to be the kind of person who got by, who went to the shops everyday, who watched tv every night, who did the same things day in and day out.
I felt boxed in by all the houses that surrounded me, I felt trapped in my own life as it lacked challenges and freedom.
As I put on one of my favourite songs and closed my eyes I knew exactly where I wanted to be. Walking through a forest with the sun shining through the trees.
So that’s what I did. I got out of my shitty rut, I put on my walking shoes and headed straight for nature. It was my tiny slice of freedom. I touched the bark of the trees, felt the leaves between my fingertips, listened to the birds singing, experienced the sun on my face — I was alive.
Now I’m not saying go and fondle some plants and you’ll be fixed. It wasn’t just the walks and the nature that helped my depression, it was the clarity I got from the experience. Being alone, free and disconnected from the schedule of life gave me the space I needed in my head, to really figure out what it was I wanted to do with my life. It was then I was able to make some drastic changes, completely fearless. To say a big ‘fuck you’ to being comfortable.
There are a LOT of reasons you should embrace nature if you’re depressed or socially anxious, head space is just one of them but here are some other good reasons:
You brain needs it.
It helps your immune system.
Eases anxiety symptoms.
It’s something you can do alone without feeling judged.
Vitamin D is good for your body.
So go find a woods, or a river or walk up a mountain and get some freedom in your bones!