Somatics + Psychology of Place: How Does Our Environment Affect Us?

Somatics + Psychology of Place: How Does Our Environment Affect Us?


How does the place we live impact our physiology and even our psychology? This video with Dara explores the theme of how our environment affects and shapes who we are.


Hi. This is Dara del Rio with Somatic Spiritual Counseling. And today’s video is on being based in place, and how the place where we live and the places that we feel connected to, even if we don’t live there, affect us in our physiology, in our psychology, in our conscious and subconscious minds. So, first, I’d like to invite you to consider where you feel connected to, place-wise.

Where Feels Like Home to You?

Oftentimes, there are a lot of different kinds of places that come to mind. There are places that we’ve been to that we feel inspired by. There are places that we’d like to go to, that we imagine. And then there are places that maybe we live, or we have lived, and we feel comfortable and settled there, and we consider them to be home. So, whether you live in one of those places currently or not, I’m curious, when I ask the question, “Where feels like home to you?” what the first place is that comes to mind. And just allowing whatever image or word or feeling to come through, and trusting that. The first thing that comes is the best, and we can work with that.

So, once you have a place in mind that feels like home, I’d like you to spend a moment here just exploring it in your mind’s eye, and getting a sense for what the natural rhythm of the landscape is like. What does a typical day feel like in this place? Are the days really long and hot? Are they short and cold? What time of year is it in your mind’s eye? What does the sky look like? Is there wind? Is there rain? And of course, landscapes change every day, just like we do. But what’s interesting here is to notice what the landscape is doing in your mind at this moment. What part of the natural rhythm of this place do you feel most connected to that just naturally comes alive when you call upon it?

And it’s interesting to consider how this affects who we are, our sense of self, our sense of wellbeing. For me personally, I’m very connected to the Sonoran Desert. And even though I don’t live there anymore, the natural rhythm of the desert really affects me, and I carry it with me in different ways. For example, the days there are pretty even, most of the year. There’s some fluctuation, but it’s not that much. And I feel that I have a pretty steady rhythm across the months. So, that’s something that I carry with me. And then there’s a really big temperature differential between the nighttime and the daytime. Because it’s a dry desert, it gets really, really hot during the day, and at night, it cools off significantly, maybe 30 or 40 degrees. And I notice that capacity within myself of being either really hot or really cold about something.

So, these are just some of the ideas that I have of how my landscape informs my inner landscape. And you might start drawing connections for yourself with your own landscape. And if you live in a place where you feel most connected to, even better, because then you can really draw on the richness of your day-to-day environment and seeing how it shapes you and informs who you are.

mountain home somatic psychology ecopsychology

Attuning to Nature’s Rhythm

And something I’ve noticed, having lived in many different places besides my homeland, is that every place we go to affects us in a pretty significant way, especially if we’re attuned to our bodies, to our nervous systems, to the subtleties of our mind. Every place we go to impacts our sleep. It impacts maybe even how many thoughts we think, what thoughts we think, how quickly we’re moving. There’s a reason why people like going to the beach, for example, for vacation, right? Not only is it a visually stimulating experience and very beautiful, but it calms us down on a physiological level oftentimes. There’s like a slower pace there, and a slower rhythm.

So, it might be interesting for you in your own life to start exploring how different places affect you. And what are the benefits of doing this? Well, it goes two ways. The benefit for you is that you get to know yourself better, and you get to see what changes between places and what stays the same. And then the benefit for the place that you’re in is that you’re connecting with it more deeply. And this is really important, especially in the times that we live in. We’re in a global crisis, and we’re headed towards what only seems to be a worse crisis over the next couple of decades with climate change. And I think it’s really important for us to start connecting more deeply to the place where we are as an act of solidarity, reciprocity, and maybe as the first step to actualizing change on a deeper level of how we are living our day-to-day lives in relationship with the earth around us.

So, these are some thoughts on being based in place. And just take a moment now, if you’re still with me, to reflect on what you’re noticing for yourself, either in your body or in your mind at the moment. What thoughts or emotions or ideas does this conversation trigger in you? Is there anything that you might like to be doing differently than how you’re doing right now in terms of relating to the place where you live? Or are there any habits that you have that you’re realizing now are ways of already naturally connecting to the environment and to the landscape in your home?

And whatever you notice, if it feels good to you, after you finish watching this video, to write some things down, or decide you’re going to do something a little bit differently and give it a go, I invite you to do that. And I’m curious to know your thoughts and reflections on this topic. So, if you’d like to share, you can leave a comment here on YouTube, or reach out to us at where someone is always accepting new clients, and we’d love to hear from you. So, hope you’re well, and thank you for watching this video. And I’ll see you next time. Bye!

Learn more about somatic therapy here.


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