Well, who knew that a walk in the park or forest might help depression, or ease your frustrations? And best of all, it’s free!

Researchers have become aware of the benefits of ecotherapy, which encourages contact with nature, giving people a sense that “all is well.”

It can also create an awakening experience, when our surroundings become more intense (more beautiful and more meaningful).

I know most gardeners have experienced this connection with nature, not knowing it had the title of ecotherapy.

Other activities, such as forest bathing and mood hiking, produce similar results to ecotherapy. The whole idea is to simply visit a natural area and walk in a relaxed way that is calming, rejuvenating and restorative.

Some research has shown benefits such as boosted immune systems, reduced blood pressure, reduced stress and improved mood and energy levels.

Among children, researchers have coined the phrase “nature deficit disorder” for some kids who exhibit behavioural challenges, citing too much screen time and a lack of outdoor play as the culprits. Whether adult or child, we could all use more time outdoors.

So, when you need a boost, put on your walking shoes and take a stroll through nature. Oh, and don’t forget to stop and hug a tree and smell the roses, if they are in bloom.

Why not join other happy gardeners and would-be gardeners at our next program night on Nov. 21? We will be holding our annual general meeting, with a potluck dinner, and special speaker talking about houseplants 101. The Dunnville Horticultural Society meets every third Thursday of the month at the Optimist Club Hall, 101 Main St. from 7 to 9 p.m.

Visit us online at our Facebook page or website www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org.

For questions or comments, contact president Deb Zynomirski at 416-566-9337 or debzyn@gmail.com.

Marlene Link is a member of the Dunnville Horticultural Society.

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