Gaining appreciation for the majesty of nature is a wonderful way to combat depression. Depression tells you that the world is a terrible place full of ugliness. During the winter months, this lie becomes easier to believe because there is less proof to the contrary.
In spring, you have all the proof you need to confirm your notion that depression is wrong. Spend time sitting on a chair, bench or blanket outside to absorb the wonder of nature. Inspect the big picture as well as the tiniest details.
Pay attention to everything from the blades of grass growing and turning greener to the clear, blue sky. Close your eyes to let the sunshine warm your skin. At the same time, listen to the sounds and smell the scents around you – make your appreciation a multisensory experience.
Write down your thoughts and elements of the outdoors that you appreciate. These writings can become a springtime gratitude journal in which you document the positive outdoor changes associated with spring.
Some say that connecting to nature is a spiritual experience. It can make you feel connected to the earth around you. A sense of belonging always lowers depression.
Walk to Explore
Now that you have been able to enjoy the world around your home, go for a walk to see what else the world has to offer.
Depending on your location and physical health, stick to the sidewalks or take an expedition deep into the woods. Go with the intention of finding as many beautiful elements as you can.
Be mindful during your walk by thinking about what you see, hear, smell and touch rather than the problems that depression tries to put in your mind.
As an added bonus, this walk will help reduce depression by flooding your brain with wanted chemicals triggered by exercise. To improve the experience, walk with a quick pace and walk often. Both will heighten the exercise experience and walking often will allow you to track the slow and steady changes to the world around you. This serves as a reminder that it takes time for leaves to grow just as it takes time to change depression. The best successes in life do not happen overnight.
Gardening puts you in the position of being an active participant in nature rather than being a passive observer. Remember, no one is expecting you to plant an acre of corn or soybeans, but consider planting some flowers inside or outside.
If space is an issue, simple planter boxes filled with soil make a fantastic option. If space is not an issue, plant a variety of items including flowers, vegetables and even fruits.
Planting a berry plant, like strawberries, is an excellent way to appreciate nature and then eat the fruits of your labor, literally.
Gardening yields a sense of power and control over your surroundings that is very valuable during periods of depression. It is a way to focus your energies outwardly rather than constantly thinking about the unchangeable aspects of yourself.
This break will allow you to refocus on yourself with renewed energy and a fresh perspective at a later time.