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Exploring Ecopsychology: The Power of Connection

Updated: Jun 20, 2023

One of the key factors and drivers within the dimensions of Wellness is connections.



Exploring Ecopsychology: Connections within Wellness

You see this as a connection to self, connection to spirit, connection to others, and connection to nature. Connections have a protective factor against anxiety and depression, help us regulate our emotions, lead to higher self-esteem and empathy, and helps us improve our immune systems (Steakley, 2012; Eisenberger, 2013; & Mass. General Hospital, 2020).


At SEELEDU we teach you how to connect.


The Power of Connection


Connections are a protective factor linked to multiple positive health and quality of life outcomes. Decades of research has shown that loneliness and isolation are associated with high blood pressure, chronic inflammation, weakened immune systems and a host of other health issues (Eisenberger, 2013; Karmel, 2020). But data also reveals that human connection — something as simple as getting an offer of help from a stranger or looking at a picture of someone you love — can ease pain and reduce physical symptoms of stress (Kaplan, 2020). Cole (2007) was the first to demonstrate that our connections are affecting us at every level to a genetic level. People who feel socially isolated or detached, or experience a chronic threat of social losses, experience an upregulation in inflammatory genes and a downregulation in immune response genes (Cole, 2007; Miller, 2009) .


In our internet world we are more connected than anytime in history. We have the ability to connect with anyone we want, at anytime, at the click of a button. At its core, the social medias promise connection. The key ideas behind Tiktok, Instagram, Facebook, and other platforms are that we can create rich networks of friends, receive real-time updates and build a sense of community. However, research shows we are less connected and feeling more lonely, isolated and unhappy than another time in history. We also look around online and find it promising that many people are talking about living their “truth” and being their “authentic self” but there is little help to establish what those are. At SEELEDU we teach you how to connect.


Why is connection important to us?


Through 15 years of experience we have seen in every client encounter some form of disconnection.


Some examples:


  • Disconnections from self- not being able to be in the present moment; anxiety; not feeling in the body; not being able to be still

  • Disconnections from community- lacking social interactions; lacking hobbies or interests

  • Disconnections from the soul- not knowing what feeds and drives you; not knowing how to tap into these reserves to fuel personal growth

  • Disconnections from our natural world- can be seen as lacking a relationship with nature; diminished use of senses; disconnections from food sources, disconnections from product chain and how we obtain goods/products; can also be seen in the number of environmental problems we see today (deforestation, fires, pollution, temperature increase, biodiversity loss, land degradation, ocean pollution, greenhouse effect etc.)

Two instances that were formative in the creation of SEELEDU and left lasting impressions on our founder Justine Ferland were examples of disconnections from our natural world. In one instance a friend argued that large scale industrial suppliers and package stores provide better products than sourcing from local farmers; and the other instance was working in an elementary school to learn that there were students who had never stepped foot in the forest. This school was located in the middle of a national park in Germany. The forest was quite literally all around us.



SEELEDU Explorers and psychological counseling: building a connection with nature


This process of losing a connection with nature began heavily around 150 years ago with the Industrial Revolution, which brought major technological and production advances. Our modern way of living is based upon the convenience and practicality initially developed during this time and further distances us from our role in nature. The health benefits of our time in nature are abound. The research is clear. Time spent in green and blue spaces helps us physically, emotionally, and mentally; however, we are less connected to nature than ever before.


Yet the power of connection is a skill like all others, one that you can train (like a muscle), cultivate and harness. At SEELEDU, we teach you how to connect with your body, mind, and soul both through and with nature. We are passionate about helping others lead full, happy lives with meaning and purpose. We teach you the power of connection and how to cultivate deeper connections within your own life.


What can SEELEDU do for you?

SEELEDU is based in science and grounded in nature. Practicing in ecopsychology and recognizing the mutual compassion and nurturing ability between nature and humans, SEELEDU offers live and online programming, development and learning for holistic, whole-body well-being.


References


Cole S.W., Hawkley L.C., Arevalo J.M., Sung C.Y., Rose R.M., & Cacioppo J.T. (2007). Social regulation of gene expression in human leukocytes. Genome Biol.


Eisenberger, N. (2013). Social ties and health: a social neuroscience perspective. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2013 Jun;23(3):407-13. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2013.01.006. Epub 2013 Feb 8. PMID: 23395461; PMCID: PMC3664098.


Kaplan, S. (2020). Human connection bolsters the immune system. That’s why it’s more important than ever to be kind. The Washington Post.


Karmel, W.C., Stein M.B, Nishimi K., Ge T., Coleman, J., et al. (2020). An Exposure-Wide and Mendelian Randomization Approach to Identifying Modifiable Factors for the Prevention of Depression. American Journal of Psychiatry, DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2020.19111158


Massachusetts General Hospital. (2020, August 14). Social connection is the strongest protective factor for depression. ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/08/200814131007.htm

Miller G, Chen E, Cole SW. (2009). Health psychology: Developing biologically plausible models linking the social world and physical health. Annu Rev Psychol.


Steakley, L. (2012). The scientific importance of social connections for your health. Scope Stanford Medicine. https://scopeblog.stanford.edu/2012/08/09/the-scientific-importance-of-social-connections-for-your-health/

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