Miraculous New Health Therapy: Go Into The Woods And Leave Everyone The Fuck Alone
A walk in the woods is good for more than finding a moment to reconnect with the natural world, so says Rodrigo Montoya, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, who advocates for regular reconnections with the outdoors as a means of stress relief. It’s not just his research that makes him uniquely qualified to give such advice. His therapeutic technique evolved from his relationship with his students.
“I’d tell them, look, you just gotta fuck off to the woods to give everyone a break from your bullshit,” he says. “Namely, me.”
Professor Montoya encourages anyone who is the bane of someone else’s existence to wander into the woods and let the natural detoxifying wonders of the Earth envelop them as they give everyone they know a break from their toxic bullshit that infects everyone within close proximity.
He claims his radical therapy is rooted in simple science: If you are the source of everyone’s tension, no amount of acupuncture or meditation will stop others from bouncing the negativity you spark in them back onto you, creating an infinite feedback loop of stress that poisons the well. If you identify more with the poison than the well, Professor Montoya says you should consider “fucking off to the woods with the beavers and shit for a bit.”
Trust me, everyone will thank you,” he noted.
Not taking those steps of self-imposed isolation into the woods can lead to an array of side effects for yourself and those around you, including—but not limited to—premature graying, wrinkles, and your mysterious death become an eight-part true crime Netflix docuseries in which viewers feel bad for agreeing with the killer. If left unchecked, Professor Montoya warns, a person’s constant need to spread their toxicity like a virus can calcify, turning a seemingly normal person into what he calls a “total asshole.”
While his therapy may seem unusual, history just might be on his side. “Henry David Thoreau!” Montoya shouts. “That’s what I say to my students when they’re ruining my life with their bullshit. They know what I mean.”
Thoreau, the famed author of Walden’s Pond, famously lived in the woods in an attempt to entirely disconnect from the anxieties of modern life. But Montoya hypothesizes there was likely more to it than that. “I don’t think the world was the problem,” he explains. “More likely, Thoreau was.” Looking up from a stack of partially-graded papers, he explains, “I usually recommend people therapeutically fuck off to the woods for, like, an hour or two. That guy walked into the woods and didn’t come out for two whole years. He must have been the fucking worst.”
Despite the similarities, Montoya disagrees with Thoreau’s execution of the exercise. “If you’re that much of an asshole, you should go to the woods and just fucking die” (or as he calls it, “Extreme Waldening.”)
Shortly after our interview, Professor Montoya’s research grants were frozen and he was terminated by the University of California for “encouraging his students to no longer schedule one-on-one meetings and instead wander into the woods to end themselves.” He was last seen stripping off his clothing as he wandered into the nearby El Dorado National Forrest.