Ecopsychology is the study of the nature–human relationship. This field of study is a hybrid of psychology, ecology, and spirituality, influenced by indigenous wisdom, Buddhist philosophy, transpersonal psychology, and deep ecology. It acknowledges that human beings are intrinsically connected with the natural world and seeks to develop this relationship through nature connection practices. In doing so, ecopsychology explores strategies for moving towards a life-sustaining future for both human beings and the natural world in the midst of cultural, political, and climate crises. When the natural world thrives, human beings thrive as a result.
Ecopsychology is founded on the principles of nonduality and animism. Nonduality suggests a seamlessness between the concepts of “self” and “other.” Ecological identities are the parts of ourselves that exist outside of us in the natural world. For example, perhaps you feel particularly bonded to a place, river, tree, or animal. Animism attributes a life force, or soul, to all objects and phenomena in the world. In an animistic worldview, the world is alive with consciousness.
Opportunities for nature connection come in many shapes and forms. Various practices include meditation, walks and hikes, forest bathing, bird watching, foraging, gardening, yoga and tai chi, and extended wilderness solos. Oftentimes, the perfect choice for connecting with nature is a unique expression that aligns with the practitioner’s own interests and passions. We encourage you to start exploring nature connection by using all of your senses to take in the environment, focusing on one at a time. See where this practice of focused attention takes you!