Ecopsychology, or ecopsychoanalysis, seeks to revolutionize modern psychology by emphasizing human intimacy with nature. This could include activities such as hiking in the woods or going on a vision quest; protesting logging; practicing full moon rituals or simply spending more time with pets and plants.
Ecopsychology may seem intimidating at first, as its critical dimension can make confronting our violent history with nature somewhat uncomfortable.
1. Reduced Stress
Direct contact with nature promotes mental wellbeing by relieving stress, healing emotional trauma, supporting addiction recovery and encouraging spiritual growth. Furthermore, nature fosters sustainable lifestyle choices and choices which acknowledge our fundamental interdependence with nature.
Studies indicate that people living near public green spaces experience better mental health outcomes and lower levels of stress, possibly related to several mechanisms including biophilia hypothesis, stress-recovery theory and attention restoration theory.
Ecopsychology is an emerging field that seeks to heal both mind and environment simultaneously. This discipline draws inspiration from Heidegger, Jung and Wordsworth’s perennial philosophy of connecting humans and nature through reimagining our relationship to nature, honoring indigenous traditions, and providing holistic frameworks for sustainable choices.
2. Better Mood
Multiple studies have reported that spending time outdoors can improve concentration, happiness and empathy. One such study discovered that students watching videos featuring forest scenes demonstrated better cognitive task performance than those watching building-scene videos.
Ecopsychology is an emerging field that examines the relationship between humanity and nature. Also referred to as ecotherapy, green therapy or earth-centred therapy, ecopsychology delves deeper into how planetary health and mental wellbeing interlock.
Some ecopsychologists come close to advocating psyche/earth essentialism, believing that all humans are deeply intertwined with nature. But these ecopsychologists also recognize the need to decolonize conversations by centering the voices of marginalized communities such as Robin Wall Kimmerer using storytelling techniques to emphasize this point.
3. Reduced Anxiety
Theodore Roszak, author of “The Voice of the Earth,” is widely recognized for creating Ecopsychology as a field. He believed that humanity and nature should no longer be treated as separate entities; psychology – which studies mental processes – and ecology – which studies our planet – must work together in order to solve society’s biggest problems.
This involves understanding how to connect with the nonhuman world to develop a sense of embodied belonging – which provides an effective antidote for anxiety caused by social hierarchies.
Ecopsychologists advocate nature connection practices that foster felt resonances with nature and its more-than-human world, in order to shift environmental action away from coercion towards respect and invitation.
4. Increased Self-Esteem
Ecopsychology’s roots date back to ancient philosophers like Goethe, Heidegger and Wordsworth who believed a healthy connection with nature was integral to human wellbeing. Psychologists, social workers and therapists have long recognized this as part of their practice; hence their classification as ecopsychologists (green psychologists), transpersonal ecotherapists, global therapists or even shamanic counselors among many other terms.
However, in order to fully embrace ecopsychology a person must not only heal their relationship with nature but also investigate its roots, such as global climate change. This can be unnerving and anxiety-inducing for most. Therefore many ecopsychologists turn to Ken Wilber and Arne Naess’ works for guidance when formulating transpersonal psychology bases for their work as ecopsychologists.
5. Better Sleep
Sleep is vital in helping individuals manage the stresses of daily life and maintain good mental health. Poor sleeping can often worsen psychiatric conditions and some mental health disorders.
Ecopsychology is a relatively new field of study that examines human interactions with nature from both ecological and psychological angles. It encourages a transpersonal and spiritual approach to psychology study while exploring environmental problems’ source. Ecopsychology was pioneered by Theodore Roszak in 1992 as a way of acknowledging we’re part of this living planet – our physical wellbeing relies heavily on its health!