Understanding Nature Deficit Disorder Many individuals are dealing with the condition of nature deficit disorder leading to an unawareness of the earth’s environment. In the past, most of the population lived in rural areas where people worked on farms. Rural locations gave people opportunities to experience nature each day. Individuals walked to nearby locations resulting in healthy exercise and fresh air. Today, many individuals live in larger cities away from plants, animals and nature. Tall buildings and air pollution often prevent people from viewing the sky, clouds and birds. City dwelling individuals may never personally experience seeing wild animals, mountains or tall trees in a natural setting.
Less Time Outdoors Cities with public parks typically restrict access to areas as a safety precaution by requiring pedestrians to stay on specific trails. The dangers in many neighborhoods from criminal behavior limit allowing children free access to playing outdoors. Instead of walking to nearby schools, children must spend hours riding a school bus. Longer days at school and work mean there are fewer opportunities for individuals to spend time outdoors. After work or school, individuals must spend time traveling home where the evening is spent watching television, playing on a computer or talking on a cell phone.
Reconnecting with Nature Because of modern technology, more people are developing health conditions such as obesity, depression and attention disorders. Several therapeutic organizations promote nature education that includes long-term adventures during vacations. Reconnecting with the outdoors is vitally important to assist individuals to understand how to protect the environment. Spending time outdoors helps people to reduce anxiety while building self-esteem and developing social skills. At the same time, participants involved in outdoor activities can learn how to solve personal problems while developing self-awareness and increasing personal growth. Seeing animals and plants in a natural setting also creates more awareness of environmental issues such as global warming and water pollution.
Importance of Wilderness Programs Wilderness programs are a great way for individuals to spend time outdoors while dealing with issues that include addiction to drugs or alcohol. During these intense outdoor programs, teenagers and adults can receive assistance from trained counselors to learn new coping skills to stop addictive behavior. Participants learn self-control skills using techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy taught by certified professionals at the program. Group and individual therapy sessions help participants to find new constructive goals instead of living a destructive lifestyle.