Nature-based therapy is an effective means to boost mental wellness. Nature is viewed as a healing partner in the counselling process. For instance, when an individual is depressed, they often retreat into indoor spaces, isolating themselves from the world around them. Using a nature based therapy approach can help people to receive the benefits of being outdoors while still engaging in therapy.
1. Nature based therapy can be less intimidating than a traditional office setting
The traditional office setting can be seen to be an intimidating experience for some clients. The face-to-face interaction can be off putting and cause unease in some. Moving therapy to an outdoor space can alleviate this as some people experience nature therapy as less intimidating than an office setting.
2. Enhanced self-concept, self-esteem and self-confidence
Employing nature is a potent therapeutic intervention in combating negative self concept or self esteem. One study found that combining exercise and nature and participating in group exercise activities outdoors improves both mood and self esteem.
3. Nature based therapy can improve anxiety and depression.
Research in a growing scientific field called ecotherapy has shown a strong connection between time spent in nature and reduced anxiety and depression. It’s not clear exactly why outdoor excursions have such a positive mental effect. Yet, in a 2015 study, researchers compared the brain activity of healthy people after they walked for 90 minutes in either a natural setting or an urban one. They found that those who did a nature walk had lower activity in the prefrontal cortex, a brain region that is active during rumination — defined as repetitive thoughts that focus on negative emotions.
4. Nature based therapy can lower stress levels
Research shows that exposure to nature will have profound impact in the decreasing of cortisol levels. The calming effect of nature can have a profound effect on stress levels.
5. Psychological effects of therapy in nature include lower blood pressure
Natural light, fresh air, exposure to trees and plants seem to improve many people’s outlook on life in a positive manner but also reduce blood pressure. Research also points to increased resilience, improved self-esteem and increased capacity to engage socially with other members of their community and society at large.
This peaceful nature preserve is a flat, easy wander that is only a short 10 minute drive from downtown Squamish.
Located at the tip of the Howe Sound and bordered by the Spit on the west, the Squamish Estuary provides some of the best local views of the Stawamus Chief and is home to literally hundreds of species of birds and other habitats. The 3.2 kilometer trail features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
Heading north on the Sea to Sky Highway, continue past Downtown Squamish until you reach Industrial Way where you will turn left. Turn right at the Queen’s Way intersection and follow Queens Way until it curves left and becomes Government Road. Take Government Road 1 kilometre past the train tracks, to a small sign for The Spit on your right. Continue down the gravel route until you reach another T intersection where you will turn left. Follow the gravel road until you reach the hiking trail head signs on your left for the Estuary.
Alice Lake Provincial Park is located along Highway 99, 5 km north of Squamish on the east side of the highway. Follow the signs for the park and the trail is accessed either via Alice Lake itself or via the Stump Lake entrance, which is just opposite the entrance to the park and offers its own parking for hikers.
Walk among mature evergreens right off highway 99. The Ray Peters Trail weaves its way through various branches or smaller trails, but is fairly easy to navigate because it is surrounded by roads at its edges. Hiking here can take from 30mins to 2 hours depending on the trail you take.
This popular Squamish trail, the Ray Peters trail is great for all ages and users. This gently sloping area is the remains of a very large piece of the dormant volcano on Mt. Garibaldi that blew off and slid 10 kilometres down eons ago. Now part of the Cheekye Fan, it is a rambling expanse of pleasant woods and some old pavement from a defunct trailer-court of the 1960s. The area is a peaceful getaway close to Squamish.
The most convenient access point is just across Ross Road from the lower parking lot at Don Ross Secondary School, because this gives assured parking. There are also a few trailheads near Highway 99.
Running along Loggers Lane Road lie a few easy trails to get out for a family walk. This is probably the best of the trails for the younger crowd due to the small distances.
Combined with the busy Loggers Creek Trail, Nature Trail provides a large area of paths among old trees, wetlands and bubbling brooks. Prior to the Mamquam River changing its course westward in 1921, this area was its estuary. The maze of side channels along the original path of the river provided the necessary mixing of fresh and tidal waters that salmon and trout need for rearing juveniles. This was a prolific fishing area and the Squamish people caught a lot of their wintering supplies in the old mouth of the Mamquam River.
The best access point is parking at the Squamish Adventure Centre and crossing the street to the paved path and turning right. Soon you’ll be immersed in the forest with a couple pathways to chose. Alternatively, parking at the Smoke Bluffs parking lot of Loggers Lane works as well.
Squamish’s most dog-friendly beach, Newport Beach, is the site for an easy loop for the family. The rustic, sandy centrepiece of Squamish’s oceanfront where dolphin, whale and other marine life sightings are not out of the ordinary.
There is an access point for walking trails in Downtown Squamish near the corner of Vancouver Street and Second Avenue.
From Downtown Squamish, head west down to the end of Cleveland Avenue past the Howe Sound Inn and Brewing Co. and turn left on Vancouver Street. There, you will see the Yacht Club. Turn right. Signs will direct you towards the beach.
Be aware of the development in the area that may affect this route. The Developer states “Public may experience trail closures from time to time on the loop trail. We encourage users to park closer to the Yacht Club or Brew Pub and start the loop from there or, park at Newport Beach on the Oceanfront.”
https://i0.wp.com/tenacitycounselling.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/image3.jpg?fit=1936%2C1936&ssl=119361936Jamal Ahmelichhttps://tenacitycounselling.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/01_p-1-300x97.pngJamal Ahmelich2019-11-10 01:47:562019-11-10 13:48:50The 5 Best Family Hikes in Squamish