“The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease” – Voltaire
In the last decade, technology has seen an unprecedented growth. It isn’t really quantifiable, but it comes with its own set of pros and cons. I am into digital marketing and also am a nature-lover, therefore in my leisure time, I like to visit the mountains. While writing this piece, I actually mused at how different my profession is from what I like to do. While technology has a lot of accolades to its name, the major drawback I observed was, disconnect between humans and nature. The gap between these two have only extended in the recent times. But that is not even the side-effect, the problem comes when getting disconnected from the natural environment brings in complications of the mental health. It almost seems like an entire generation of people are struggling with different mental health issues including bipolar, depression, general loss of interest, and a growing frustration towards other human beings in general. A rise in intolerance in numerous parts of the world is a clear indication of the mass frustration out there. I believe somewhere this disconnect between humans and nature is a major factor for this.
I first started travelling in 2015. I was reading a lot of literature related to nature and how it heals and thought I should give it a try to make things better, mentally. I had recently been diagnosed with borderline bipolar, at just 22, I felt like I am completely burnt-out. This is when I decided to take a break and travel to the mountains, my spirit place. Natural environment has always been helping in the fastest recovery of human illness, 68% of which claims for mental illness. Certain propagandas and hence campaigns, have been initiated in order to reborn the ecosystem balance that is somehow getting lost year on year. Development in Urban areas accounts for more than 49% of forest destruction and as the very well-known environmentalist once explained, “Nature shrinks as capital grows. The growth of the market cannot solve the crisis that it creates”, we need to understand that half of the human health problems cannot be cured by metro cities. Also speaking of which reminds me that the accumulating strength of research from multiple disciplines has been making it difficult to dismiss the clinical relevancy of natural environments in 21st century mental health care. Therefore, nature not only has a power of healing, it is literally the need of an hour!
Anti-depressants have complicated our emotional lives and if noticed properly, severe emphasis on the spiritual and emotional strength available through a close relationship with nature is still embraced by First Nations and aboriginal communities, and retains an intuitive appeal with deep resonance across time and cultures, but people in metropolitan cities have discarded the idea of restoring natural combat. Operating at the individual level, I have observed that certain psycho-physiological mechanisms work best around natural environment setup.
My entire week around the mountains, trekking to different peaks, enjoying hot-springs, eating organic produce helped me have a good treat of nature. The period rejuvenated me and I was mentally prepared to sort things out. I was relaxed, confident, and aware. I understood things that I would never have if I continued grinding in the concrete jungles of Mumbai. While most people credit travelling for this awareness, I attribute nature. Connecting back with the trees, the animals and the natural environment renewed my thought processes. They taught me how to let go. To attain or strive to attain zen. I believe efforts to reclaim our natural lifestyle should be made. An awareness campaign to promote the benefits of nature in all sections of the society, be it students or professionals, is longing. Make “Let’s get Natural” an obligation because Nature Really Heals.
About the Author:
Shantanu Banerjee is a writer, digital marketing consultant and an entrepreneur, working in Travel Technology sector. He travels often to reconnect with nature and ponder on life and its mysteries.