Could beautifying your yard improve your mental health? According to ecopsychology, yes. Ecopsychology is a relatively new academic field that combines psychology, environmental philosophy and ecology. Researchers in this area contend that humans thrive when they have a close connection to nature. They argue that since we evolved in natural environments, our minds require time in nature to stay even-keeled. By providing opportunities for clients to appreciate and reflect on nature, ecopsychologists help heal mental disease.
For instance, participants in a wilderness and adventure therapy retreat could be encouraged to see aspects of themselves in the nature around them. One person might see his own cautious nature in the perfect stillness of a mother doe, while another could find her bravado in the daring dive of a falcon. Both people would likely walk away with an improved sense of their own place on this planet.
Ecopsychologists have found other approaches to healing through nature. For instance, some researchers have found positive health outcomes after guiding clients through landscape restoration projects. Others recommend “spending meaningful time communing with nature” as a great way to heal one’s own mind and counteract the stresses of modern life.
In this sense, Portlanders and others might be able to enjoy better peace of mind year-round by installing patio covers. Portland being an extremely rainy place in the winter months can cause many residents to feel depressed and stuck indoors during the “dark season.” And even if you’re already a tree-hugger, it’s hard to motivate yourself to go on a hike when it’s raining hammers and nails outside. Fortunately, those who would still like to connect with nature on these days can do so under their patio covers. Salem and Portland residents alike will be able to enjoy more time outside with a permanent outdoor shelter against the rain.
Here are a few especially healing aspects of patio covers Portland and Salem residents may enjoy:
Sense of privacy. Properly placed in your yard, a patio cover can provide a private space for enjoying nature. Perhaps you’ll watch the hopping of a sparrow toward your bird feeder, or listen to the cawing of a murder of crows in a nearby stand of Douglas fir trees. For even more privacy under your patio covers, Salem and Portland homeowners, consider adding trellising or fencing to block unwanted views.
Personal oasis. Create a beautiful staycation spot under your patio cover. Add elements of the earth – water in the form of a burbling fountain, fire in an outdoor fireplace – to make your outdoor living area relaxing and peaceful.
Protection and safety. Like the walls of the ancient caves in France where the first human art has been found, patio covers create a safe, protected environment. With a cover over your head, you’ll feel more ready to relax and de-stress.
Once you’ve erected your patio covers, Portland and Salem homeowners, it’s time to kick back, observe the flow of nature, and feel modern stressors drift away. At least, this is the kind of mental recess in nature ecopsychologists would prescribe.