Have you ever headed out for a brisk walk when confronted with a difficult decision? Before long, you start noticing the birds calling or your neighbor’s flowers and you return home with clarity about your situation.

Or have you calmed yourself by taking a drive to the ocean or river? The sound of water rushing over rocks or washing on the shore brings a sense of exhilaration and joy that puts your problem in perspective.

Some of us have intuitively known the healing power of nature and research is proving us right. Studies show that medical patients heal faster when their views include trees; students score higher on tests, can focus, and are more cooperative and kind, when they live near green areas or participate in nature programs; our mental health issues, such as ADHD, depression, and stress, can subside when we spend time outdoors.

All of this is captured in the emerging field of ecotherapy, which promotes mutually beneficial relationships between people and nature. Ecotherapy encourages us to use our sense and heart to experience and interact with the rest of the world.

The Middletown Park and Recreation Department is offering a four-session ecotherapy program, HealingNature, to help us reconnect to nature in a personal way. Sessions will be held on Thursdays in June, from 6:30pm to 8:00pm. Pre-register by May 21: send a completed general registration form (available online or call 860 343 6620) and check for $65 to Middletown Park & Recreation Department, 100 Riverview Center, #140, Middletown, CT 06457. Open to all mobility levels. Questions: Beth@HealingNatureCT.com or 860 398 4470.

Take a look: Experience Healing Power of Nature in New Class

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Do you miss that peaceful feeling you get from spending time outside?  Would you like to be inspired by nature? Are you interested in advocating for nature’s creatures? Join a four-class session, HealingNature, offered through the Middletown (CT) Park & Recreation Department for an introduction to ecotherapy to help us balance ourselves through connections with nature.

Instructor Beth Lapin brings 20 years experience as a field biologist and an equal amount as a social worker — and masters degrees in both – along with decades of experience leading outdoor excursions and therapeutic groups. “Not just another hike in the woods, although that’s included, we will use our senses to strengthen our connection with the natural world,” she explained.” Anyone with questions can contact her: Beth@HealingNatureCT.com or call 860 398 4470.

Sessions will meet on Thursdays in June from 6:30 until 8:00pm at Ron McCutcheon Park at Crystal Lake in Middletown, CT. Pre-register by May 21: send a completed registration form (email for copy) and check for $65 to Middletown Park & Recreation Department, 100 Riverview Center, #140, Middletown, CT 06457. Open to all mobility levels.