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Walk onto the private estate of The Guest House Ocala and be treated to a splendor of Florida’s finest nature. Spanish moss trees surround our beautiful home, creating a scenic canopy of draping greenery. Bright green grass, the vast open space of our estate, wandering geese, and other wildlife greet our clients every day. Nearby in Silver Springs, our home town, are some of Florida’s famous aquifers offering visitors a chance to swim in pristine crystal clear water along rivers and in pools surrounded by more of Florida’s lush vegetation. Everyday, clients at The Guest House Ocala are exposed to nature in varying hues of blues and greens from sky to grass, trees to rivers. Being in a natural environment is relaxing, invigorating, and healing.

Much research has been devoted to investigating the healing effects of spending time surrounded by a natural environment. Studies have found that just being able to see a bit of green or blue in a bush, a tree, a pond, or a lake, can have tremendous benefits for mental as well as physical health. A new study from the United Kingdom has reaffirmed a previous finding from other studies that being exposed to nature by immersion or viewing, improves body image- something that many people who have experienced trauma struggle with.

Traumatic experiences change the way we see ourselves and our place in the world. Attempting to process and make sense of trauma is difficult for the brain to do, which is why treatment programs like the ones offered at The Guest House Ocala are necessary to help people heal. Trauma can manifest in different ways, one of which is through the development of a negative body image or of body dysmorphic disorder. Body dysmorphic disorder causes an individual to have a skewed perception of their physical form and a chronicall critical perception of themselves weighed entirely on their physical appearance.

The study, published in Body Image, surveyed groups of university students. A first group looked at either pictures of natural environments or industrial environments after filling out a survey about their body image, then filled out the same survey afterwards. Those who had merely looked at pictures of nature were more satisfied with their body image after the experiment than those who had looked at pictures of industrialization. For a second group, some participants took a lush nature walk while others walked through a ‘medium-density built environment’. These participants filled out a ‘body appreciation questionnaire’ before and after their walk. Participants who walked through nature scored higher on their follow up test. Those who walked through the man made environment actually had lower scores than when they started.

Everyone has a story when they arrive to The Guest House Ocala. We welcome you with open arms, opening the doors to our beautiful estate and the beginning of your recovery. Our clinical team plans each client’s program of care with concierge-style attention and customization to ensure every individual need is met to heal traumas, addictions, and related mental health issues. You are not alone. For information call: 1-855-483-7800