There is no easy fix to healing grief. The pain of losing a loved one is something that evolves with time, but it never quite goes away. And while at times, your grief journey might feel hopeless, there are ways nature might be able to help.
We know what it is like to lose someone you love, so we wanted to share some of the ways nature can help.
How Nature Heals
Nature has incredible healing abilities. Whether you’ve felt the peace of sitting in a quiet forest or the joy from receiving a beautiful bouquet, it’s likely you’ve felt the power of nature. But there is actually research to back up its capabilities.
In one study, researchers placed plants and flowers in hospital rooms and found that the patients with greenery in their rooms healed more quickly. So it turns out flowers don’t just brighten up a hospital room, but can help you feel better more quickly.
Then, one review of a few different studies found that people who looked at greenery while recuperating from different kinds of surgery needed less pain medication and had shorter hospital stays than people who weren’t looking at greenery.
It’s pretty incredible, but simply connecting people to nature can help achieve faster recovery rates, reduced stress and eased symptoms of physical and mental disorders. With regards to grief, being around plants and flowers can help heal emotional pain. Let’s dive into why below!
Being in Nature Can Decrease Rumination
When it comes to grief specifically, there are a few ways nature can help. Firstly, nature has been shown to decrease rumination. If you struggle with a cycle of negative or grief-related thoughts, simply walking in nature can help these thoughts slowly decrease.
One study conducted by Stanford in 2015, compared a group of people who walked for 90 minutes in nature to a group who walked for 90 minutes along a busy four-lane road. Those who walked in nature had less brain activity in the part of our brain connected to rumination.
Indoor Plants Can Improve Mental Health
If you’re currently grieving, you’ll know the effect it can have on your mental health. So while we’ve shared a little bit about how plants can heal physical ailments, we haven’t had the chance to talk as much about some of the emotional benefits of getting in touch with nature.
Like we saw earlier, being in nature can have a positive effect on your overall well-being by reducing rumination, but there are ways nature helps improve mental health specifically.
In fact, having indoor plants might help your mental health and improve your overall feeling of well-being as well. A heart and lung rehab center in Norway placed 28 live plants in its common areas and tested the well-being of its patients before and after.
In their study, they found that the patients who were around the new plants reported a greater increase in well-being four weeks later compared to patients who didn’t have greenery around them.
Something like a potted peace lily or potted gardenia could be a great option for someone who is grieving because they can survive for years with proper care.
Being in Nature Can Reduce Feelings of Isolation
Finally, losing a loved one can make anyone feel isolated—especially if it was a direct family member. And even though it is important to fully feel your emotions and deal with them as they come, there is a way that nature can help you feel less alone.
A recent study conducted by psychiatric unit researchers found that being in nature reduced feelings of isolation, promoted calm, and lifted mood among patients. By simply surrounding yourself with nature indoors or regularly scheduling time with nature outdoors is a wonderful way to help you connect with the world around you.
Finding Comfort in Nature After Losing A Loved One
We know how difficult it can be to lose someone you love, but we hope reading over some of the benefits of getting in touch with nature will help lift the heavy burden of grief.