The Link Between Nature-Deficit Disorder and Anxiety

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“The woods were my Ritalin. Nature calmed me, focused me, and yet excited my senses.”― Richard Louv

Who is Richard Louv?  Glad you ask.

Richard Louv is a journalist and author of over 10 books including Last Child in The Woods, where he sites the importance of exposure to nature in maintaining good mental health.

We have heard of attention-deficit disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and all sorts of other disorders. But have you heard of Nature-Deficit Disorder?

While it’s not a formal diagnosis (yet), Nature-Deficit Disorder describes the psychological and physical effects of being alienated from nature.

And you know what is more likely to occur when we feel alienated?

Anxiety. Anxiety is more likely to occur.

The Calming Effects of Nature

Have you ever taken a brisk walk on a sunny, winter day? The cold, fresh air breathing life into your lungs, clearing your mind just enough to start your to-do list for the day?

Or what about sinking your toes into the sand on the beach? The feeling of pure euphoria and peace as you lean back into your chair and close your eyes to daydream.

Research tells us that spending time in nature can give us the same benefits as some anti-depression medications. Mindfulness-based programs aimed at reducing stress have provided us with evidence of its anxiety-reducing power.

What better way to practice mindfulness than out in nature?

Remember Your Blankie?

Remember when you were a kid and you used to rub a soft blanket against your cheek to soothe you? My blankie was blue and silkie. I carried it with me everywhere. It was literally my security blanket.

There was a reason that I did that. There is a reason we all do.

Studies by the Natural Resource Institute Finland have found that merely touching wood, running your hands through sand, or stroking a soft surface reduces anxiety and stress.

Meditation for People Who Can’t Meditate

Let’s face it. Mediation is hard.

It is difficult to calm the mind long enough to actually feel calm. We start out strong, but before we know it we are thinking of any number of things:

  • what’s for dinner
  • did I offend my co-worker with what I said?
  • I can’t forget to pick up the dry cleaning

Crap. Now I feel anything but calm.

Meditation is such a great way to center ourselves, but most of us are not taught the proper way to meditate.

Unless you are an experienced Yogi or have spent years practicing the art of mindful meditation, you probably struggle a little.

This could be because you are trying to do just one thing….meditate.

In a world of constant movement, it is hard to do just one thing.

Studies have told us that we need to fully engage at least one of our five senses if we want to reduce stress and anxiety.

Enter Toucheys

Using objects for meditation has been done for centuries. Incorporating our sense of touch helps us to pause and be present so that we can ground our minds and bodies.

The Toucheys Cube is like a blankie that is socially acceptable to carry around. The cube has six sides, each with different materials designed to offer mindful focus, meditative calmness, and relief from anxiety.

  • Metal to help you stay in the moment (can be cold or warm)
  • Wood, which brings us back to childhood when we would climb trees. Helps to root your thoughts and calm anxiety
  • Clay, with its different textures to help you stay in awareness
  • Glass, designed to boost clarity of mind with its smooth and silky finish.
  • Linen stimulates concentration and focus with its thick threads interlaced together
  • Wool, which mimics the comfort of our childhood blankie with its soft and fuzzy texture helping to make us feel safe.

Nature-Deficit Disorder

The contrasting textures that each side of the Toucheys Cube offers is an excellent way to help you to avoid distractions and remain grounded. And it is small enough to carry around wherever you are.

Anxiety makes us all sorts of uncomfortable. The first step to managing it is to calm the body. Grounding exercises are a great way to do this. In my office, I use a bunch of anxiety-relief resources. They include coloring books, squishy toys, magnetic art, and fidget spinners. The Toucheys Cube tops all of those because it utilizes our sense of touch to ignite happier memories and help us to remain calm.

Why it Works

Meditation is all about building on your awareness and noticing your surroundings. Including a tactile component helps us to stay in the moment and is shown to enhance our mood. The Toucheys Cube brings the calming effects of nature literally to the palm of your hand.

Imagine being at the beach running sand through your fingers, or cuddling up on the couch enveloped in a cozy blanket. The Toucheys Cube sends a message to the body that you are calm, safe and peaceful.

The Toucheys Cube counters the effects of Nature-Deficit Disorder and brings relief to anxiety, stress, and worry.

“Time in nature is not leisure time; it’s an essential investment in our children’s health (and also, by the way, in our own).”   ― Richard Louv

How to Get a Toucheys Cube

The Toucheys Cube is used to relax, focus, ease stress, and calm anxiety. It is uniquely made by professional artists. Each cube is handcrafted by artists and can be customized to fit your needs.

Click on the button below and select “back this project” to begin your journey of practicing mindfulness, one touch at a time.

I Want The Toucheys Cube


Monica Pitek-Fugedi LPC, NCC, CCATP

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