The Samaritan Connection Newsletter - Fall 2023 - 12

Finding Hope through Nature
By Ellen Kanagy, LCSW - Therapist
" Look at these flowers I bought! " , a client excitedly exclaimed
as we started a virtual session and then showed me a beautiful
bouquet of colorful sunflowers. " My son knew these are my
favorite flowers and he sent them to me often. " She was speaking
of an adult son who died three years ago; they had been very
close and her grief has been complicated and painful. In the
midst of it all, however, we noted together that she can find (even if brief) relief and
joy through natural beauty. It represents a bit of hope that life might not always be as
painful as it is right now.
Her spouse had created a lovely memorial garden outside their home which she'd
enjoyed, then they purchased another home approximately a year and a half ago in a
wooded area near a lake. She fell in love with the deer who came close to her home,
learned about food she could give them, and often talks of her fondness for them. In
another session she shared that hummingbirds are finding their feeders and she believes
at times her son is nearer to her through the birds.
Who among us hasn't been awestruck by a colorful sunset? Or a lovely mountainous
lake scene, whether in person or in a photo? Or found comfort sitting or walking on a
beach soothed by the sight and sound of the constant ebb and flow of waves? Or a sense
of joy or delight through stroking a pet cat or snuggling with a puppy?
Therapists at Samaritan Center have been known to mention " Vitamin N " as a
helpful intervention for clients. In fact, there are increasing numbers of studies showing
that spending time in nature, listening to birds, or being with animals can reduce
anxiety and depression, lower stress levels, and increase overall well-being. Hope and
healing can be found in areas that cost nothing and where no effort is needed.
Even if taking long hikes in the woods isn't your thing, or you're not able to
vacation to the beach or mountains as much as you'd like, and having a pet in your
home isn't desirable or workable just now, try these tips to bring a bit of hopeful, restful
connection with nature into your day:
1. Cut a few flowers in your yard or buy an inexpensive grocery store bouquet to
keep beauty nearby.
2. Find nature photos to put on your phone's wallpaper or computer's screensaver.
3. Take a short walk outside (even 10 minutes has been shown to give positive
health benefits) during the day in any kind of weather. Try to keep your phone
in your pocket, and notice what you see, hear and smell, and how the air feels on
your face.
4. Add a plant to your work space or any room in your home. There are many lowmaintenance
indoor plants.
5. Research easy-to-make bird feeders if you'd like to attract more birds to your
home spaces. Put them outside windows where you can easily see them. Be sure to
stop and appreciate the birds when they come.
6. In warmer weather, go barefoot in a grassy area for a few moments and connect
with the earth that holds you every day.
7. Develop your " antenna " for
noticing beautiful or unusual
surroundings; learn to appreciate
a " tiny moment of awe " that gives
you positive energy. If possible,
share it with another person.
There are many more ways, of course,
to find increased hope and well-being
through the natural world.
May your search be endless and
fulfilling!
12

The Samaritan Connection Newsletter - Fall 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Samaritan Connection Newsletter - Fall 2023

Contents
The Samaritan Connection Newsletter - Fall 2023 - Contents
The Samaritan Connection Newsletter - Fall 2023 - 2
The Samaritan Connection Newsletter - Fall 2023 - 3
The Samaritan Connection Newsletter - Fall 2023 - 4
The Samaritan Connection Newsletter - Fall 2023 - 5
The Samaritan Connection Newsletter - Fall 2023 - 6
The Samaritan Connection Newsletter - Fall 2023 - 7
The Samaritan Connection Newsletter - Fall 2023 - 8
The Samaritan Connection Newsletter - Fall 2023 - 9
The Samaritan Connection Newsletter - Fall 2023 - 10
The Samaritan Connection Newsletter - Fall 2023 - 11
The Samaritan Connection Newsletter - Fall 2023 - 12
The Samaritan Connection Newsletter - Fall 2023 - 13
The Samaritan Connection Newsletter - Fall 2023 - 14
The Samaritan Connection Newsletter - Fall 2023 - 15
The Samaritan Connection Newsletter - Fall 2023 - 16
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