Getting outside the constant clacking and mechanical commotion in your mind is essential for psychological relief. Here we will examine three alternatives to medications and traditional clinical therapies. They include connecting to something larger than you, specifically, the natural world, to breathe and meditate, and to use movement. They are best used in combination, or even in alliance with other therapy you may have benefited from in the past. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, or get caught up in rigid requirements, although journaling your results is helpful if you enjoy writing.
It would not be correct to say this is an alternative to psychological help, because taking your mind and body outdoors IS psychological help. We have all heard that getting exercise is a great way to repair the duress of stress. This is very true. Also, besides providing reliable stress reduction, being active outdoors also gives you fresh air, digestive help, reaffirmation of supportive systems of nature, a sense of appreciation, and often, interaction with others more directly than indoor activities allow. Open your senses. See how many senses beyond sight, sound, touch, smell,and taste you can experience. Balance, warmth, or gravity, are just a few that come to mind.
Being outdoors is better for us than we realize because it connects us to a greater world. That greater world is the one with which we evolved in our ancestry. We now often, most of the time, live in “our minds” in sedentary and indoor places. These sterile environments with glaring light, constant noise, and electronic distraction, quickly shut down enthusiastic thinking. We conceptualize work, analyze projects to be done, we configure ways to solve abstract problems. We generally have lost our contact and the sanity that comes from seeing how trees, birds, and bees live and cope in a complex web of being. The calm and serenity of the natural world is a great antidote to being in your mind. It is the basis for most spirituality and meditation, which are also ways for you to gain psychological relief.
Being beneath a tree is helpful, but not required. Meditate with use of breathe work, or with a mantra you discover, or even compose, for yourself. A tried and true one that has withstood the ages is great, but just a few words that you yourself have given meaning to work also. “From our tiniest cells to the stars in the skies, we are connected, healthy, wealthy and wise.” is composed of thoughts that help return your mind to the present, and to life around you of which you are an integral part. If counting breathe intakes and releases keeps you “too mental” then feel free to just breathe as comfortably as you can while remaining aware of the gift of breathe.
Hike, walk, swim, jog, or do Tai chi, yoga, or simple stretches. If you cannot do these activities outdoors, at least focus on a potted plant, or scenic window. Breathe work is always of value in revitalizing your senses, and calming down the stress of the day. When you take a breath think of it as a gift of refreshing life spirit to your mind, body, emotions and soul. Stretches, yoga, Tai chi, and any other method of movement you find comforting is recommended. Some of us want to simply stretch on a warm, sand blessed beach. Others may find you want to perform Bollywood dancing in the forest. It doesn’t matter which technique of movement you choose, as much as choosing something that frees your body from the stiffening tension of sitting at a keyboard all day, or being stuck in traffic. Experiment, and feel free to try more than one thing.
Having a validating partner enhances these activities, but is not a requirement. If you find you are still stuck in your mind, or concentrating on stress rather than venting it, consider going solo, to reap optimum connection. You will discover over time, that voluntarily “getting out of your mind” keeps you from “going out of your mind!”