I've been making it a point to go hiking every Monday morning. Hiking is something that I *need* to make time for on the regular basis or my mental health takes a nose dive. Being in nature helps ground me. I dissociate quite a bit and I have a ton of issues with the concept of a reality. So an immersive experience that bombards all of my senses snaps me out of all of that. Sensory grounding techniques are super key to reeling me back in and also to ease my anxieties. Hiking *forces* me to be in tune with my body. I feel my muscles straining, if it's cold (like this morning) I'm hyper aware of my skin and/or breathing, if it's hot then I'm drenched in sweat while I soak up those beautiful rays of sunshine, all the smells change depending on where I am, there's different animal calls and insects buzzing around and not to mention all the visual stimuli! It's time to myself and it reconnects me to this reality by reminding me that I'm a living creature on this planet that's full of an incredible amount of biodiversity. Being indoors and in a city most of the time decimates my sense of self as a living being on this incredibly diverse planet. It's too easy to get lost in my own head. The bland buildings, concrete, litter, gasoline/exhaust/garbage smells, and PALM TREES depress the fuck out of me. Not to mention the amount of people. I have a ton of social anxiety and I'm more introverted than the average person so dealing with people in general puts me on edge. Stares not included.. Those just take it to a higher level. Nature doesn't judge me. The plants, animals, and insects don't stare.. I'm just another animal passing by. That's how it's meant to be. All of this arbitrary bullshit we've created is unnecessarily stressful and it makes me so fucking upset. Mad, sad, and terrified all at the same time. Connecting with nature and being reminded that there's a little bit of peace out there is one of the only things that actively improves my headspace. I stop and try to appreciate all the little things that this life has to offer and it puts the big scary things in my brain on the back burner and in perspective.