Finding Your Resilience in Nature | Part 1

Helen O’Connor

Finding Your Resilience in Nature | Part 1

Helen is a Registered Psychologist who has also trained as an Integrative Forest Therapy practitioner.

She supports people to connect more deeply with nature for well-being and shows how to build a reciprocal relationship with nature.

Helen talked with me in a beautiful area within Nidderdale, North Yorkshire. She defined a sanctuary in nature as a healing space that is more than its beauty. She described what it means to find a “sit spot” and how it helps her relax and rejuvenate.

We discuss the difference between the practice of forest bathing and forest therapy, both of which Helen O’Connor takes people through.

She describes why forest bathing in nature is a more straightforward process to follow than other forms of rejuvenation.

Helen explains the essence of nature as an unlearning, a way of being, not doing. She invited me to mirror the movements in nature, be it the swaying of the trees or sensing the sun’s warmth.

We discuss how Forest Therapy is used in alleviating depression and helping people to build momentum and resilience.

She also mentions some of the research and science behind this ancient practice.

Helen O’Connor can be found at:

In summary, forest bathing benefits include:

– Reduces levels of stress and anxiety (Leibold 2021, Song et al. 2020)

– Effective short-term intervention for reduction and prevention of depression in adults (Rosa et al. 2020)

– Improved well-being measured through Heart Rate Variability (HRV) – (McEwan et al. 2021)

– Improves creativity and higher cognitive level functioning (Yu and Hsieh 2020)

– Boosts your immune system (Li 2010) – Reduces blood pressure (Yau and Loke 2020)

– Increases Natural Killer cells (important for fighting tumours and viruses) and intracellular anti-cancer proteins, through phytoncides – essential oils given off by trees (Li et al. 2008)

– Improves sleep (Kwanda et al 2015)