The Healing Power of Nature
Everybody knows that too much stress is harmful. Stress triggers the body’s fight-or-flight response, signaling the brain to release stress-related hormones. Over time, this chronic release can result in depletion, causing sickness in the body and the mind.
But nature offers you ways to break this cycle, and the key lies in its four elements—air, earth, water and fire—each a powerful resource in dealing with stress. Psychologist Elan Shapiro created a simple four-step process using these four elements to counteract the damaging effects of stress.
The first element, air, is about learning to breathe the way your body was designed: expanding the belly with the inhale and letting the belly relax and flatten with the exhale. Taking long, slow, deep breathes is a wonderful way to de-stress. You can imagine you are breathing in calm and breathing out stress to make this exercise even more effective.
A common response to stress is that your thoughts race causing your body to become energetically out of balance. But you can become centered by just feeling your feet on the ground. This small but powerful shift balances the body’s energy and allows you to be more present.
This third element has to do with the production of saliva. One aspect of the stress response is that the mouth dries up. But if you imagine yourself biting into a lemon, the body begins saliva production which triggers the relaxation response.
This final element signifies the fire of your imagination. You can use the power of thought to remember a peaceful scene or recall a heart-felt experience. Access all of your senses to make the memory come alive and watch your body relax.
Utilizing these four elements is a simple but powerful way to access nature’s healing powers and take them with you…no matter where you are.
Until next time…