New parenting book Finding Ecohappiness prescribes nature-based fun to improve mental health and mood in children (and parents!)
“Finding Ecohappiness is a beautiful and informative guide to calming our mind and replenishing our souls in nature for ourselves as well as our children.”— Kyra Sedgwick, actor/director
In our always-on, pressure-cooker culture, children are at special risk for mental health threats. From too much screen time, to navigating social media, to obsessing over grades and extracurricular activity overload, children face enormous stress. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year one in five American children — 15 million kids — are diagnosed with a mental, emotional or behavioral disorder.
Fortunately, a powerful therapy to protect childhood mental health exists right outside everyone’s door, argues environmental journalist Sandi Schwartz in her new book Finding Ecohappiness: Fun Nature Activities to Help Your Kids Feel Happier and Calmer (Quill Driver Books, publication date March 22, 2022).
Written from one parent to another in an easy, nontechnical style, Finding Ecohappiness clearly explains the science of how nature improves mental health, while giving parents practical tools to help their children manage depression, anxiety, stress and mood.
Human beings evolved to live in nature, not indoors staring at screens. We all have a powerful instinct to experience nature, and everyone is prone to anxiety and depression when deprived of the natural stimuli of plants, animals and green landscapes. Reconnecting with nature soothes anxiety, calms the mind and promotes feelings of joy that Schwartz calls ecohappiness.
Nature deprivation is particularly harmful to children and their developing young minds. Children naturally want to play outdoors. Too many children today shuttle from school to extracurricular activities to screen time without the outdoor time most adults took for granted during their own childhoods. We’re not just subjecting our children to unnatural levels of stress while they’re at a vulnerable age — we’re also taking away the time with nature that can help them manage stress.
Finding Ecohappiness guides parents in simple, practical ways they can help their children develop regular habits of reconnecting with nature to reduce stress and boost mood. These activities are simple, fun for children and easily accessible to all families, regardless of their location or socioeconomic status. Finding Ecohappiness lays out an easy-to-follow plan for incorporating principles such as awe and gratitude, mindfulness, creative arts, outdoor play and adventure, volunteering, food and animals into your children’s daily routine, helping them thrive and live a happy, balanced life. Each chapter also includes additional resources for further exploration.
Engaging activities highlighted in Finding Ecohappiness range from hiking and bike rides to visiting nature centers and science museums to volunteering outdoors to embarking on ecotourism adventures. Schwartz introduces readers to unique nature relaxation activities like cow cuddling, animal yoga, forest bathing, float therapy and earthing. But daily ecohappiness can be refreshingly simple — even something as easy as creating a backyard garden can improve your children’s mental health. Nature isn’t just for kids, either — doing these activities with your children will tremendously improve your own well-being, too.
A must-read for all families, Finding Ecohappiness will help protect children from feeling stressed and overwhelmed; manage children’s issues with stress, anxiety and mood; and improve family togetherness.
Available now for preorder from Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, IndieBound.org and wherever books are sold.
Courtesy of Quill Driver Books