3 Sister's Astronomy Guest Blog: Finding Solace Under the Night Sky
My name is Joey, and I have been struggling with anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember. It has been a constant battle, and at times, it feels like there is no escape. However, I have found a way to help alleviate my symptoms, and it's something that many people may not consider: I call it star therapy.
Star therapy is a form of mindfulness that involves gazing up at the night sky and finding peace and tranquility in the beauty of the stars. It is an opportunity to step away from the stress and chaos of daily life, and immerse oneself in the vast and awe-inspiring universe. Star therapy can be especially therapeutic for those who struggle with mental health issues, as it provides a sense of perspective and helps to quiet the mind. The experience of connecting with something larger than oneself can be incredibly grounding, and can help to alleviate feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness.
For me, star therapy is more than just looking at the stars. It's also about astrophotography. When I am behind my camera, focused on capturing the night sky, it helps me to forget about my problems for a little while. It's a chance to be creative and to connect with something larger than myself.
One of my most memorable experiences was in December 2020. My wife and I rented a U-Haul flatbed trailer, took all three of our daughters out of school, and drove out to Kartchner Caverns State Park for the Geminids Meteor Shower. Kartchner Caverns is an international dark sky park, which means that there is very little light pollution, making it the perfect spot for stargazing.
Once we arrived, we lined the floor of the flatbed trailer with play mats and blankets. We all got in the back of the trailer and wrapped ourselves up while meteors rained overhead. It was a magical experience, and it reminded me of the importance of taking time to appreciate the beauty of the cosmos, especially with family.
But even on a regular night, without the excitement of a meteor shower, star therapy can be incredibly beneficial. On clear nights, my wife and I often step out onto our driveway, look up at the stars, embrace, and take a few minutes to breathe. It's a chance to wonder and dream, reflect, and to remember that there is a vast and beautiful universe out there.
In conclusion, what I call star therapy may not be a cure for anxiety and depression, but I truly believe it can help. Whether it's taking a few minutes to look up at the night sky or spending an entire night photographing the stars, it's a chance to connect with something larger than ourselves and to find peace in the midst of chaos. So, next time you're feeling overwhelmed, consider taking a step outside and looking up at the stars and just breathe.
- Joey Doherty (3SistersAstronomy)
Editor's note: Check out Joey talking about these and more issue's on our Memorial Day Stars and Stripes episode from last year.