I recently met a guy who, despite having had a loft apartment in central Berlin, a job that paid as much daily, as your average desk job does in a month, a beautiful wife, and a fairly nice cat, burned out at the age of 32. He became unable to do his job, go grocery shopping, and feed his cat. He tried therapy, relaxation techniques, pills. For a few months, he didn’t see much improvement. As he felt mostly unable to travel, he stayed home most of the time. One day, his wife got very annoyed by him, and she threw him out for the weekend. She booked him a cabin in the woods of Brandenburg and send him away.
“That weekend changed my life,” he said “Oh” I responded. And then stood there. In silence. As a know-it-all, I was positive I knew what happened. But I wanted to be polite, so I asked “What happened?”
And he told me, how he went for a walk and how he got lost in the woods, and how he sat down next to a little stream and all he could hear was the stream streaming, the birds chirping, and the canopies hustling. He said, immediately, he calmed down, he felt his whole body relax, for the first time in months, his mind wasn’t going anywhere. Amazed and well aware of what was going on, he remained seated for hours. The rest of the weekend he’d get up early go to the same spot and spend all day there. By the time he went home, he was in a good mood, had energy, and actually felt excited about life.
The connection of our immune system and our psyche is studied increasingly and became known as psycho-neuro-immunology. It’s the study of the influence of our psyche on our immune system, and the other way around: the influence of our immune system on our psyche. The nervous system is the intermediary between the two, therefore the name.
But we as people don’t end where our skin begins. More research shows that we are deeply influenced by our environment. Therefore, psycho-neuro-immunology needs to actually be broadened into eco-psycho-neuro-immunology. The connection of our psyche, our immune system, and our environment. Our body, our psyche and our environment form one whole and are inseparable. Numerous studies from all over the world have shown that being in nature improves psychological wellbeing. Measurably.