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147: Born to Rewild: Renewing Your Health Through “Nature Connection” – with Shawn Slade

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Time to step out of the digital realm and plant your bare feet in some lush grass.  

While working indoors, particularly at a computer hour after hour – you can easily spend too much time in the “digital world” and not enough time in your natural, physical environment. 

If you wonder why this matters, let me ask you this: how do you feel these days? Are you anxious? Burned out? Do you have mysterious ailments that your doctor says are stress-related, yet gym workouts, a better diet, and medications are not improving the way you feel?

Perhaps it’s time to take a walk on the rewild side. 

Our guest today offers a new approach to health coaching that involves getting back in contact with nature. Shawn Slade explains why “nature connection” is a growing therapeutic practice – offering those willing to dip their toes into a nearby lake this amazingly restorative experience that leads to happiness and a serene sense of overall well-being. 

In this podcast, Shawn reveals expertise in nature contact, ecotherapy, ecopsychology, and rewilding. 

Shawn began his career as a traditional health coach and then shifted into nature connecting – he is now an emerging scholar in nature contact, nature connection, and human health. 

As a lifelong scholar, Shawn holds degrees in business and economics (2006), political science (2008), a Master of Science (2014). He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in health promotion at Western University in London, Ontario. 

Shawn is also a serial entrepreneur. He is the co-founder of Booch Organic Kombucha and does research consultations for Exercise is Medicine Canada. He is also a nutrition and weight loss instructor for Canfit Pro, a part-time professor of health promotion at Fanshawe College. Shawn delivers numerous speaking engagements with ACSM, CSEP, and other academic conferences and trade shows. 

 

In this podcast, we cover:

  • What are eco-therapy, ecopsychology, and rewilding?
  • The health benefits from nature connecting
  • How city dwellers can connect with nature
  • Shawn’s “dark night of the soul” vision quest experience 
  • Why “micro exposures” are a good starting point to rewilding
  • Shawn’s future vision of the nature connection field
  • Why nature connecting is perfect for people in extensive lockdowns
  • Why Shawn does not want the government leading the nature connecting movement

“A lot of research shows nature to be a saving grace for many people.” 

Several published research papers provide evidence of nature’s therapeutic power. 

One of the most vital benefits of nature contacting, or rewilding, is stress reduction – something many people deal with now thanks to our modern, fast-paced world and the added stresses from the pandemic. Lockdowns, fear, economic pressure, isolation, loneliness, and depression reached epidemic proportions aside from the virus. 

When humans are working on a computer or digging a ditch, or whatever task they focus on, the brain goes into the beta brainwaves, which help us focus. But as we all know, you cannot maintain focus indefinitely. 

People need time to relax. Nature connecting puts our brains in the alpha brainwave or the gamma brainwave, which are much more calm and relaxed. 

Shawn goes into a lot of the science backing the practice of nature connecting, including how rewilding drops our cortisol levels. 

Question: What’s the next cool thing in the health industry? 

Answer: Nature-based interventions.

Shawn knows the positive impact connecting with nature brings to the soul, as he experienced a “vision quest” out in the woods for three days that significantly changed his life. (He shares that experience here, and it involves a wolf. You don’t want to miss that.) 

Shawn talks about how nature exploration leads to self-discovery, sparking your creativity and gets you excited about life. With the spark nature provides us at a soul level, you can ride that wave to more happiness and health. 

Even city dwellers can receive rewilding benefits through small doses of experiencing nature. 

Shawn is so passionate about nature connecting. He had to defend his doctoral dissertation paper on this very topic the next day! 

What benefits await you when you begin exploring nature? Tune in to this episode and discover the ways of rewilding. Shawn is about to become a professor of nature connection. You can’t get more authoritative on a topic than that. 

Listen to one of the top experts on the planet – find out which health and wellness surprises you can find at your nearest park, beach, or forest. 

 

Episode Resources: 
Check out more about Shawn Slade

Rewild My Bio on Telegram
Rewild My Bio on Instagram
Book recommendation from Shawn: The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative, by Florence Williams

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