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Celebrate America's Birthday: Connecting with Nature for Mental Wellness

Scenic road leading to the majestic Grand Teton mountains in Grand Teton National Park. Photo by Payton Pay.
Experience the breathtaking beauty of the Grand Teton National Park, a symbol of America's natural splendor. Photo by Payton Pan

It's America's birthday this week, and as an immigrant, this day reminds me of what I love most about the United States: its people, for sure. However, I am most drawn to the beauty of this stunning land. Protecting land and designating it as national and state parks is certainly among America's best ideas, as Ken Burns highlighted in his remarkable TV series on National Parks. The variety of landscapes is hard to beat.

Through all my travels, I have seen some amazing places such as Yellowstone, Acadia, and the Everglades, but my favorite remains the Great Yosemite Valley. Nevertheless, I’ve committed to finding beauty in all of America's nooks and crannies. I am in awe of protected forests and seashores too. The desert is a spiritual place like no other.

At the Center for Nature-Informed Therapy, we aim to offer experiences that encompass all major ecosystems: forests, oceans, mountains, and deserts. Our popular nature-immersive program, Peace in the Wild, provides experiences in the mountains of Europe or the forests of the East Coast. Next spring, we will offer a weeklong course exploring the relationship between water and the treatment of anxiety, located on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Additionally, we are planning a desert-focused Peace in the Wild program for the fall of 2025.

It appears that different biomes evoke distinct emotional connections. What emotions do you experience when visualizing mountains versus deserts? Exploring these diverse biomes not only enriches our understanding of nature's therapeutic potential but also deepens our appreciation for the profound emotional connections each ecosystem offers.

As we celebrate America's birthday, let us continue to cherish and protect the natural wonders that define this land, fostering connections that transcend borders and enrich lives through the healing power of nature.

Photographer Credit: Photo by Payton Pan,

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