What is biophillia and can it heal us?

Discover this natural healing phenomenon

For myself, I know that as soon as I step into a forest and inhale and exhale, my whole body relaxes and it feels like I am breathing in a higher form of life.

Some people experience this same feeling being by the water, others while on a mountainside. There is something in nature that does something good for us humans. It is the nature in nature. But it is an under-tapped resource.

It is said that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life; I agree. the name for this healing with nature is biophillia.

What is biophillia?

Biophilia may sound like a disease, but the term was used by German-born American psychoanalyst Erich Fromm, who described biophilia as “the passionate love of life and of all that is alive”.

Recently, my family and I did a four-day hike on Hinchinbrook Island in North Queensland. We were in awe of the natural beauty that surrounded us and how much it changed with every
step. There was the cycle of life everywhere: birth, life and death, sometimes happening to the same plant all at once.

Being in the vastness of nature gives us freedom. It gives us the gift of remembering what matters, what is important, and how small, yet powerful, we are. We can destroy nature, but nature can destroy us. This brings with it a level of awe and respect.

I have just finished reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed, a woman who took to walking a 2650 km hike along the Pacific Crest Trail in the USA to heal herself and grieve her mother’s death.

Being alone in nature was what she needed to reflect and tap into her inner wounds. The journey is long and hard but it brought her all she was wanting and more.

How to bring nature into one’s life can be a difficult question when so many people live in urban forests.

Whether you sit in a park, have your own garden or are an avid camper or hiker, getting into nature soothes the soul, recharges the weary and connects us to ourselves.If that is not healing, what is?

Inhale. Exhale.

Written by Kemi Nekvapil

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