Forest Therapy is based on the wellbeing enhancing effects of forests on human health, happiness and comfort. There’s the immunity boosting effect of the phytoncides and microorganisms that we come into contact with in forest environments. On top of that, forests calm and restore us and offer a recreational area to do sports or spend time with our family and friends. Beyond that, forests are beneficial to people with ruminating thoughts, mood swings or depression. Getting into zone of deep nature connection fast, will decrease our psychological stress in effective way and completely naturally.
These findings are getting more and more support and recognition in scientific world and also in medical sector. I think, that it’s just wonderful, but there is still much to do to give nature the status it really has in bettering human health. Today I would like to share something personal about myself and tell you more about how I became a forest therapy coach.
My Story – Why Forest Therapy Coaching
“Don’t ever be afraid of anything!” My mother wrote that to my daughter’s naming party guest book. It has become a self-fulfilling prophecy for her. She is fearless! Unlike my daughter, I have always been afraid, shy, quiet and so on… In my teens I was so afraid, that even my memories are thin and uncertain from those days.
As a young adult starting my career, I had major panic attacks. Lunch time was the worst! If my fork clinked too loudly against my plate, I could end up into very intense feeling of fear. It hit me like hammer, the need to run away, dizziness, loose of hearing, pounding heart… I couldn’t move. If someone spoke to me, I didn’t hear.
There was this one time, when we had our new manager visiting us at our office to get to know everybody. Of course, we had lunch all together, chatted and got to know each other. Then IT hit me, and in no time, I was in the bubble filled with terror! And go wonder, suddenly our new manager asked me something. And I just couldn’t hear him. Everybody was staring at me, and I just couldn’t hear them. Well, the situation ended in me running into bathroom to calm myself down. I came back explaining something about nose bleed. Yeah right… And at home I felt like a looser and was anxious because of the next day.
At times, I was so afraid and worried about things that could happen, that I almost made myself to believe, that I don’t want to do certain things or go to some places. But I do!!! We are all stronger and braver, than we can even imagine. It took a hell of a long time to figure that out, accept and cherish those parts of me, that were not “mainstream”. But you know, I made it.
Big part in my healing was the epiphany, that I can never be anything else, but me. I know, that these feelings will always be present, always. But we can learn to manage them. And the only way to learn to do something is to experience it, take a hard look at it, talk about it, accept it. You can’t escape your own shadow darling.
Is looking inside always necessary?
During my journey, I tried various medications, different doctors and self-help books for shyness. They didn’t work. I wasn’t depressed, my heart was fine and I’m not shy. I’m not quiet either. Sometimes I’m still afraid, but I have my way to step off that feeling and concentrate on “the real stuff”. And in that, nature has been a huge help for me. It helped me to start my journey to meet real me. Instead of looking deep inside, the answer for me was to look outside.
When solving problems to do with mental health, depression and anxiety, we spend so much time looking inside. Deep into the layers of life. We peel them off one at the time and try to grab the end of the thread. We tend to think, that because we feel like this or behave like that, there must be something that went wrong at some point. Sometimes we find our answers there. If we don’t, our attention is drawn towards our human relationships. Mom daughter relationship, husband and wife relationship… Is the glitch there?
Maybe it’s our body chemicals or hormones? But what if it’s NOT. What do we have left to tear open? Do we continue to poke and pinch our fragile sore spots some more? In my opinion the best thing to do, when life shakes us, is to find firm grounds under our feet, stop for a moment and surrender to nature’s intelligence. Her healing powers are raw, pure and meaningful. My solution would be to revive the nature connection!
What is forest therapy for me…
When I get to nature, first thing I notice is relief, I have room to breathe. Then comes joy and gratitude. After a while, my mind starts to let go of everyday worries. They lose some of their power, they become smaller. Nature brings distance between me and my problems. It’s like getting out of my own head, seeing things with increased clarity and being present in my own body and in that moment at hand.
If I have some hard task to do at work and it seems nearly impossible to manage it or I have failed somehow in other parts of my life, it seems like this feeling fills all the space in me. It pops into my mind constantly. It gets inside me, and I can feel it swirling about under my skin, heavy and black. If this state continues for long, we can start thinking, that this bad feeling is part of us. That it somehow defines us as a person.
It’s good to remember, that our mind is powerful beyond measure. In good and in bad. It’s the greatest trickster. Do you really see things as they are? Or are you locked on some perceptions, that might stop you from seeing other possibilities? Usually the way we feel affects on the way we see world. Being in nature clears away these tricks of mind. Visiting forest and connecting with living world of trees, soil, sky… reconnecting with our natural roots, brings us back into balance, and make the situation clearer. That gives us a chance to view our position and direction out of the context – as it is.
For me nature brings also comfort. There’s numerous times when I have told the happenings of my life to trees and stars. They don’t judge, yell at me or try to hurt me some more. In nature, I’m accepted with all the bad in me, all the good and all my doings and undoings. And when you are in need of that, the comfort that nature brings means tremendously. I’ve seen it saving lives. Nature is always ready to welcome us. It accepts us with open arms and when she holds you, everything is alright.
We are nature. We can go to nature with heavy heart, filled with sorrows and she will bring comfort and wash us clean. We can go to her with anger and she will calm us down and open us to see different perspectives. We can go to her ashamed and she will not judge us, instead she will love us, so that we can do better next time. Nature loves second chances! It starts everything all over again every spring!
Nowadays we are unfortunately disconnected from nature. And as we are nature, we are also disconnected from ourselves. We should eat more of nature’s fruits, walk on her skin with barefoot and give her few moments of our day… Touch some tree trunks, taste those refreshing raindrops, spread ourselves all over nightly sky, howl the moon and stay close to mother Earth’s heart. Therefore, I am a forest therapy coach. My mission is to restore the broken connection between us and nature, so we can again be whole.
Why do You Need a Forest Therapy Coach?
We all know, that anyone can sit at home and do stretches? We can also play sports without coach or study mathematics without teacher. So, why are there yoga instructors, coaches and teachers? If you’re like me, you’re not going to stretch or study as often or as efficiently as you should. Sometimes we need a little push! But more importantly, a coach might have been where we are coming and therefore they can support our journey.
This all equally applies to Forest Therapy walks. Anyone can have a walk in the forest. You don’t need a coach. But if you are looking for a deeper experience, you may want to think about a walk with forest therapy coach.
Forest therapy coach ensures, that you get the most out of the practice in terms of health related and therapeutic benefits. They show you creative ways to integrate vitamin Nature into your daily life and guide you to hear, see and sense, sometimes subtle, hints and guiding of nature. Forest therapy coach will slow down your pace and open you a new door to self-knowledge and the feeling of worthiness.
When you suddenly jump into forest therapy session after a hard work day in a formal adult world, it can be challenging to let go of logic and open yourself up to mystery, so you can interact with nature more freely. It’s hard for us to let go of modern life hustle and bustle and do thigs as we used to do as kids.
I consider myself as a personal trainer for nature connection. I will support my clients to be more accountable and committed to forest therapy practices. It’s about building healthy habits. For me it’s also important to provide a safe environment of acceptance and empathy and give my clients a reliable and non-judgmental support during their journey.
Nature. I’ve heard people say, that it is a sanctuary. A place to heal and cry. Nature brings us back to our truth. Nature is balm for the soul. It gives us the clarity we need, so we can see healthy perspectives. Nature washes us clean and clear. Nature gives us patience, peace and calmness. Nature heals our souls. Thank you, thank you, thank you!