Doro Bush Koch & Tricia Reilly Koch
Restore Your Relationship With Yourself & Others In Nature
As holistic health practitioners, we’ve always said that health requires feeding all aspects of ourselves, and we know that relationships are a crucial part of wellness. During times of difficulty, we lean on those relationships and on the mindfulness practices we’ve cultivated.
Whether you’re trying to stay invested in long-term relationships or are establishing new ones, one way to nurture connections while also being active and connecting to nature is to take a walk or a hike together. There is something special about moving forward in the same direction that promotes meaningful conversation. And beyond that, being outdoors helps us strengthen our relationship to nature, which, in turn helps us strengthen our relationship to ourselves.
Studies have shown that time in nature creates a feeling of calm. It nourishes us on many levels. Nature sounds can be soothing even in recordings, but far greater are the benefits from hearing real sounds of birds chirping, water cascading over rocks, squirrels scurrying. When we take in the sounds along with the beauty of leaves, flowers, and butterflies, our heart lifts, making us better able to show compassion toward ourselves and others.
Even if movement is not available to you for long stretches of time, sitting together outdoors with a friend can help you be present with one another, leaving behind worldly concerns to listen deeply and authentically.
The two of us grew up together as parents and decided to go into business together during daily hikes after dropping off our children at school. It’s still our favorite way to brainstorm new ideas, but also to be there for one another. We’ve each had losses in our lives, and our walks together have been important parts of our grieving and healing.
Loneliness is a predictor of longevity. Social isolation may increase a person’s risk of premature death more greatly than other risk factors, including smoking! We need people to have fun with, and we also need people with whom we can share our challenges, people who are willing to listen honestly and not judge us but rather remind us there will always be light after the dark.
It takes a village to get through difficult times. The investment we put in our relationships pays great dividends. Even when we face loss, the memories of connections help us process our pain. When we are able to recall the joy and meaning we found together, we are better able to remain optimistic and live free of regret.
It is never too late to build or rebuild connections. As long as we lead with compassion and openness, there will be room for love to grow.
Growing Bolder contributors Doro Bush Koch and Tricia Reilly Koch are sisters-in-law who founded the wellness company BB&R, Bright, Bold and Real over a decade and a half ago with a very clear goal: to share with others what they’ve learned about mindfulness and holistic living with the intention that everyone begin to live their best life. Learn more about their retreats, workshops, courses and popular Health Gig podcast
This article is featured in the August 2022 issue of The Growing Bolder Digital Digest.