Going outside is a proven feel good. Uncomplicated and forgiving.
What is Walking Therapy? It’s therapy outside. I often sit with my clients on a big tree trunk, shaded by a canopy of leaves. Other times we just walk around the park and depending on the time of the year can grab a few blackberries on the way. Therapy outside is all about you, but it’s making you feel better through talking, but also walking in a positive surrounding. It helps with perspective so often and provides you with an introduction to doing the same, going for a walk – without your therapist.
So what’s behind it all? Research from all over the world is showing that people who spend quality time in green space have fewer health complaints and live longer and that the green space itself is a stress buffer, helping people cope better with life’s adversity. Other studies have found that invisible chemicals (called phytoncides) in some trees can reduce stress hormones, lower anxiety and improve blood pressure and immunity. It can also help us sleep deeper and actively help us to ‘sleep ourselves well’.
We all know instinctively that being outdoors provides us with the benefits of getting natural sunlight, which comes in the form of much needed vitamin D. What we may not know is that being outdoors in the sunshine provides our system with a natural stabilisation of hormones especially melatonin levels – a super healer and regulated of our system. Unfortunately melatonin is what is destroyed when you spend a lot of time with the screen.
Taking of Tech, studies have shown that screen time is associated with increased fatigue, depression, anxiety, ADHD in children, and poor concentration. Enter the Japanese researchers, who have found that people who lived closer to or near forests had significantly lower rates of lung, breast, uterine, prostate, kidney, and colon cancers. The health improvements of walking in forests has even led them to open Forest Hospitals with astonishing recovery for the patients even needing less medication! So wouldn’t it make sense to want a little of that?
What happens if you’re based in a city like London – not exactly the amazon. Good news nature benefits us even if it comes in little urban pockets. In fact in the city there’s even a greater need to connect outside and outside yourself. Walking, Talking – you feel not just good – but double good.
If you don’t have a park, it can be a river or the coast. Walking and talking is beneficial, but do make sure you’re therapist has trained for walking and talking therapy and that they’re insured to do so.
Feedback: I felt so much better after having met with Fiona outside as opposed to the usual therapy rooms. ( I was even able to take my dog !) It was empowering.
Another client combined both online and being in the park by talking to me on his phone, while I too was outside, he said, “It was such a great session, refreshing and afterwards I was really able to process surrounded by the trees and flowers in the park”.
Finally: I loved my session outside, it was so relaxed and easier to talk there. We sat in the shade on a really warm day, drinking water and chatting. I felt really hopeful afterwards.
Book in for a complimentary chat or walk and talk appointment here
Note: If you’re a therapist or coach and would like to learn how to integrate walking and talking into your practice we hold training sessions – ( outside, not online ) during the months of May-September. More here.