A number of years ago, I read a wonderful book by William Zinsser entitled Writing to Learn. While I couldn't find the book last night in order to share a quote with you, what Zinsser confirmed for me is that the best way to make a subject my own is to write about it.
That's part of the reason why I blog; I blog to learn, share (what I've learned), and heal. But sometimes I wonder whether I need to provide more data when I discuss wellness activities (which is just one of the many topics I blog about). When I thought about yesterday's Field Trip Wellness Activity post, I wondered whether a "new" reader might look at that and say,
"Wow, Susan Bernard is really a lightweight. I'm reading this post because I need to find out how to cure myself of bipolarity and/or depression, and she's writing about the wonder of seeing deer at a state park."And just before I began writing this post, I had one of those Aha Moments. I realized that when I'm undergoing a severe depression, all I want is to find a way to lessen or end the psychic pain. But, unfortunately, I've learned there's just not one "cure that fits all."
However, when my depressive feelings are receding or I'm done with them, I know there truly are lessons to learned and to share about dealing with depression, and that's why I write.
Yet, when I think about my Wellness Activity posts, I wonder whether I need to put them in a larger context. Should I have written, "The reason why I went to the park on Wednesday was that because of my recent depression, I have spent months in relative isolation. And I've learned that once I feel the least bit better, it's really important to be in public places, particularly if I don't feel like engaging with people on a one-on-one basis.
"Also, I believe it's critically important to know what things in life make us feel good. What can we do that's uplifting? What environments do we find life-sustaining?"
And, I wondered whether it would have been helpful to provide supporting data. In fact, I do know that being in the great outdoors, which is my top healing environment, is therapeutic. Mind, a leading United Kingdom health charity, has discussed the value of Ecotherapy, which is "about getting out of doors and becoming active in a green environment as a way of boosting mental health. This includes taking regular walks in the countryside or the park, flying a kite, or taking part in a gardening therapy project.
"In the first study of its kind to examine the effects of green exercise on people with mental health problems, the researchers examined 20 members of local Mind groups who took part in two walks, one in a country park and one in an indoor shopping center, to test the impact on self-esteem, mood and enjoyment.
"The results showed that:
- 71 per cent reported decreased levels of depression after the green walk.
- 22 per cent felt their depression increased after walking through an indoor shopping center and only 45 per cent experienced a decrease in depression.
- 71 per cent said they felt less tense after the green walk.
- 50 per cent said they felt more tense after the shopping center walk.
- 90 per cent said their self-esteem increased after the country walk.
- 44 per cent reported decreased self-esteem after window shopping in the shopping center.
- 88 per cent of people reported improved mood after the green walk.
- 44.5 per cent of people reported feeling in a worse mood after the shopping center walk, 11 per cent reported no change and 44.5 per cent said their mood improved.
- 71 per cent of people said they felt less fatigued after the green walk and 53 per cent said they felt more vigorous."
Please let me know how you feel because while I'm usually aware of the data, I don't always think to share it. In the meantime, I hope you have a happy and healthy weekend. See you on Monday!