Holistic Lifestyle - Transformation

April Blog: Earth & Stress Relief Month


April Blog: Earth & Stress Relief Month

submitted by Emily Bennett MSN, RN, NC-BC

At OHNA, our theme for 2024 is Community Wellness: Cultivating Healing and Abundance Together.

Because April is Earth Month and Stress Relief Month, it is a time to celebrate our home planet, and also an opportunity to recognize that planetary climate stress impacts us as individuals.

The American Holistic Nurses Association has created a position statement on planetary health that attests to the connection between climate health and holistic nursing.

AHNA statement here

As we celebrate Earth month, we also mourn for our planet and may be feeling anxiety and stress from the enormity of the challenges ahead. Focusing on stress relief modalities is also at the core of holistic nursing practice. As we cultivate healing and abundance, we can balance this need for climate action and our own sustainability by utilizing the practices we know reduce stress for ourselves and our communities.

Stress management is a featured topic for AHNA, here is a link to information and resources:

https://www.ahna.org/America n-Holistic-Nurses-Association/Resources/Stress-Management

Ecological psychology is a field of study that promotes human psychological wellness is connected to environmental wellness. According to the International Community for Ecopsychology (ICE), the

disciplinary boundaries of this field are not limited to psychology and ecology, but can include elements of spirituality, holism, anthropology, environmental philosophy, and more. Learning more about this perspective and the clinical applications of eco therapy is an interest to many holistic nurses.



“The greatest danger in our future is apathy.”- Jane Goodall


When I reflect on Earth Day, I recall reading Al Gore’s Earth in the Balance {1992). Mr. Gore used his platform as vice president in an effort to prevent future climate concerns. His work was based on solid scientific evidence. In the 1960s, the evidence for the warming effect of carbon dioxide gas became increasingly convincing. The study Man-made Carbon Dioxide and the “Greenhouse” Effect in 1972 summarizes the anthropogenic attribution of the carbon dioxide greenhouse gas, distribution predicting accurately the increase of global warming of 0.6 C for the period between 1972 and 2000. The term “global warming” appears for the first time in print on August 8, 1975, from Wallace Smith Broecker’s paper “Climatic Change: Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?” in the

journal Science. As early as 1896, Svante Arrhenius made the first quantitative prediction of global warming due to a hypothetical doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

1- The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970

https://opb.pbslea rningmedia.org/resou reelaml15.sci.env.earthday/the-environ mentaI-movement-and-the-first-earth-day/

It is mind boggling to consider that the predicted future is now, that efforts and energy for mitigating the effects of climate change are now being shared with efforts of adaptation.


2- How Do We Balance Abundance and Healing on our planet, as a community and as individuals?

How can techniques to address stress management serve us in healing the planet?

Stress Management

The CDC provides a list of actions an individual can take to address stress that causes health problems. These include healthy nutrition, sleep and movement, limiting or eliminating the use of harmful substances like alcohol, smoking, and illicit substances. Holistic nurses know that mindfulness, meditation, nurturing the spirit, connecting with community are additional, and equally important ways to conquer unhealthy stress. Whether it is coaching for healthy choices, leading yoga, pranayama, or tai chi classes, holistic nursing skills and perspectives always address the whole person, including the stress response for individual clients and groups.



3- Carbon Dharma: The Occupation of Butterflies, by Sailesh Rao

What is Earth was our patient?

In the book, Carbon Dharma by Sailesh Rao, the author describes the earth in terms of patient with a fever and compares this with Mark Ryan’s work, Six Degrees. Both describe the changes that occur as the earth heats up in parallel to what occurs to us as individuals when we suffer from a fever.



4- As holistic nurses, cultivating healing and abundance, we have a unique perspective to build a bridge between planetary health, community health and individual wellness.

Healing modalities based on Ecopsychologic principles are referred to as Ecotherapy. Ecotherapists are professionally trained and certified in this speciality.

Eco-therapeutic Interventions

    • Forest Bathing (mindful walking in the forest)
    • Gardening
    • Animal-Assisted Therapy
    • Hiking or walking in nature.
    • Outdoor Meditation
    • Outdoor Yoga
    • Camping
    • Wilderness Adventures


Evidence Based Research

Studies conducted on the influence of ecotherapeutic modalities have shown improvements in multiple facets of healing.

    • Medical and Surgical recovery
    • PTSD
    • Obesity
    • ADHD

Depression and Anxiety

    • and more!

Suggested reading:

Returning the Self to Nature: Undoing Our Collective Narcissism and Healing the Planet, by Janine M. Canty is an excellent read to expand your knowledge on the subject of eco psychology. The reader is awakened to a new perspective related to our human systems and how we can, as individuals, make changes in our mindset that honor our home planet.


5- Community Wellness: Cultivating Abundance and Healing Together

As holistic nurses, we can advocate for a healthy planet as a foundation to a healthy community.

Namaste- Emily



AHNA https://www.ahna.org/

Al Gore Earth in the Balance

International Community for Ecopsychology https://www.ecopsychology.eo.uk/what-is­-ecopsychology/international-community-for­ ecopsychology/#:~:text=The%201nternational%20Community%20for%20Ecopsychology,arise%20from%2 0an%20ecopsychological%20viewpoint.

Janine M. Canty Returning the Self to Nature: Undoing Our Collective Narcissism and Healing the Planet Mark Lynas Six Degrees

Public Broadcasting Service https://opb.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/amllS.sci.env.earthday/the­environmental-movement-and-the-first-earth-day/

Sailesh Rao Carbon Dharma