“I decided to use an unlabeled, vibrant, variegated yarn for my contribution in the hopes of inspiring happiness. Though I know all too well that one can’t just simply choose to be happy, especially in the grips of depression, surrounding oneself with beauty and light can take the edge off for a while. I started with one of Marinke’s patterns and then branched off and did a bit of freehand to finish my mandala.”
In her letter for the project, Sara writes,
“All of us spend our days flying around on a small stone in a vast cosmos. We only get one life. If you are feeling hopeless or overwhelmed (as I have sometimes felt), reach out. We are all very small, so we have to stick together to hold each other. Let nature hold you as well. Find peace in the natural world, and its beautiful fragility. I won’t say “everything will be okay”, but I will say it’s worth it anyway.”
So perfectly well said Sara. And I love the part about nature because I know that’s something that helps many of us, including Wink who enjoyed forest bathing.
There is a name for the use of nature to help in the healing of depression: ecotherapy. Mind.org.uk says, “Ecotherapy can make a significant difference to how you feel, for example by helping you feel more grounded, providing an alternative perspective on life and helping your mind and body to relax.”
They add specifically,
“Research into ecotherapy has shown it can be a successful treatment for mild to moderate depression. This is thought to be due to a combination of:
- doing more physical activity, which is known to have many physical and mental health benefits
- getting more regular social contact with people, which can reduce loneliness and boost self-esteem
- being surrounded by nature, which can boost your overall mood and sense of wellbeing
Environmental conservation programmes and care farms in particular, have been shown to reduce anger and depression and improve self-esteem. Evidence also suggests that being more active in nature can improve your mood far more than doing similar exercise indoors.”
Storied Mind shares,
“Lack of connection to people, places, emotions – pretty much anything – is a hallmark of severe depression, and multiple therapies are usually necessary to help get a depressed person out of a world of gray sameness. Awakening the feelings and senses by participating in the natural world can be a powerful way to begin this process. That doesn’t have to mean heading off to forests and mountains. A few city trees and a strip of urban canyon sky can do the trick. That’s about what I could see out my fifth-floor walk-up in New York years ago.The main thing is to stop and let a living thing get into your senses and mind.”
Bryan Walsh, writing for TIME, adds,
“Eco-therapists point out that human beings have evolved in synchrony with nature for millions of years and that we are hard-wired to interact with our environment — with the air, water, plants, other animals. But in the past two centuries, beginning with the Industrial Revolution, people have been steadily removed from the natural world, our lives regulated not by the sun or moon but instead by the factory clock. Recently it’s gotten worse, with the rise of the Internet and other technologies, like iPhones and BlackBerrys, that dominate our lives, pushing us even further from any appreciation of our natural surroundings.”
Sara previously interviewed me on Illuminate Crochet, where I shared more thoughts about how crochet heals.