It’s no surprise that the current health pandemic has taken a toll on our collective mental health, with disconnection, loss, and fear being strong emotions for many the past two years.
The good news: a growing body of scientific evidence is opening the door (and eyes) to two very powerful healing tools for depression, anxiety, and other mental health struggles – nature exposure and psychedelics. While the two practices on their own may provide a positive impact on mental health, we have seen from many members in our community that combining microdosing and nature exposure may even have synergistic effects.
Nature is healing
Many studies, including this 2015 study by Stanford, have indicated that time spent connecting with nature can have a significant impact on many facets of our health including decreased inflammation, lower stress and cortisol levels, and very importantly, decreased risk of depression and other mental health disorders. [read a summary of evidence on nature’s healing powers here]
A recent research survey showed that as little as 120 minutes a week spent in nature is enough to have a positive impact on health and well-being.
Psychedelics may be an effective treatment for mental health disorders
Recent research from Johns Hopkins Medicine has made headlines for showing that psilocybin-assisted therapy may be an effective treatment for major depressive disorder. While this isn’t the first study to suggest that psychedelics can have a positive impact on mental health, it has created momentum for change in the legal landscape.
Last month, the Prime Minister of the UK, Boris Johnson, announced considerations for reviewing psilocybin’s classification as a Schedule 1 drug due to its potential as a treatment for depression. This reclassification would be a massive step forward in removing barriers that have prevented research in the field for decades – a huge step in increasing our understanding of if and how psychedelics can be used to improve mental health.
In the video below, we chronicle a community member, Hidde’s, personal experience microdosing to heal depression. Not only is Hidde’s journey a powerful example of the healing power of psychedelics, but it also illustrates another fascinating element often observed from psychedelic use – an increase in eco-centeredness in users (learn more).
Microdosing and Nature Exposure
While most research connecting psychedelics and nature-relatedness has been focused on high doses, many microdosers in our community have also reported developing a stronger connection to nature through their microdosing practice, as evidenced in Hidde’s own story.
Microdosing psychedelics can help increase awareness, presence, and amplify your intentions and the experience of your environment. When a microdosing practice is combined with nature exposure, we often find that our community members receive even more benefit from both practices.
Below, we have compiled five of our team’s favorite ways to explore nature while microdosing (although a microdose isn’t necessary!). For an extra mental health boost, grab a microdose, set an intention and head outside!
5 Ways to Connect with Nature while Microdosing
1. Go on a Hikrodose
A hikrodose is exactly what it sounds like! If possible, plan to take a day off on a future microdose day and spend it hiking or walking in nature or a nearby park. To further take advantage of the increased awareness gained from your microdose, take the opportunity to connect with nature by stimulating all of your senses on your hike:
- SIGHT: Look for small creatures, flowers, or mushrooms that you would have otherwise overlooked. Pay attention to the details of the objects you spot – what textures, colors, and patterns do you notice? This is also a great time to tap into your inner child and spend time with your head in the clouds – what shapes, animals, or objects can you identify?
- SOUND: What sounds can you hear? Can you identify bird song or leaves rustling?
- TOUCH: Seek out your favorite tree and give it a big hug.
- SMELL: Stop and smell the flowers.
- TASTE: If you’re comfortable with foraging and identifying safe edibles in your area, consider gathering berries, nuts or other delicacies on your hike. Otherwise, pack dried fruits, vegetables, and other healthy snacks so that you can literally enjoy the fruits of mother nature on your walk. Just remember to pack out any trash you bring in.
A bit of microdosing history: Hikrodosing is a term coined by our friend Adam Bramlage of Flow State Micro.
Hiking isn’t always an accessible option, especially if you live in a dense, urban environment. Gardening, even if it’s taking time to (re)pot a few indoor plants is a great way to get your hands dirty.
Grounding or earthing is a term used to describe the act of walking barefoot on natural surfaces. In addition to helping you literally feel more grounded in your body and mind, spending time barefoot can yield benefits such as decreased stress, inflammation, and improved sleep patterns. Next time you’re outside, take a moment to ditch the shoes and let your feet free!
Learn more about grounding, microdosing, and nature in our Community Conversation #10 with Back to Your Nature Coach Bart Scholtissen.
4. Do a neighborhood clean-up
Psychedelic use has been shown to increase eco-centrism – in other words, psychedelics tend to make people care more about nature. A great way to show gratitude towards the healing power of nature is to head outside and clean up your neighborhood! For an added health boost, invite some friends and take advantage of connecting through giving back.
5. Watch a nature documentary
It’s not always possible to get outside, but watching nature documentaries can produce similar mood-boosting effects without having to leave your house. On one of your microdosing days, consider getting cozy and checking out one of the following documentaries:
Bonus: Grow your own mushrooms
If you’re microdosing with psilocybin mushrooms, growing your own is a wonderful way to connect with nature and build a deeper relationship to the plant medicine. To learn more about cultivating sacred mushrooms, we highly recommend Fungi Academy’s super fun and easy to follow mushroom courses. Take 30% off your chosen course with the code ‘MicrodosingInstitute’.