When we are young, spending time outdoors is a grand adventure.
Everything is so new and intriguing to our curious young minds.
Some might say that it is just childish glee, and in part, perhaps they are correct. It’s so much more than that though! We might find ourselves smiling at the leaves crunching beneath our feet or get the feeling that we can accomplish just about anything under the great night sky.
Sometimes we feel distance growing between ourselves and nature. We’ve become accustomed to the concrete, asphalt and brick. We should all encourage one another to rediscover nature and rekindle that fire we once had.
More and more research has been compiled that suggests nature can help cure our ailments. Psychology Today wrote an article stating:
“A growing body of primarily correlative evidence suggests that, even in the densest urban neighborhoods, negative stress, obesity and other health problems are reduced and psychological and physical health improved when children and adults experience more nature in their everyday lives. These studies suggest that nearby nature can also stimulate learning abilities and reduce the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and we know that therapies using gardening or animal companions do improve psychological health. We also know that parks with the richest biodiversity appear to have a positive impact on psychological well-being and social bonding among humans.” (Louv, 2013)
Rebecca A. Clay agrees that “Green is good for you” in her article on the American Psychological Association website. She mentions that nature restores mental clarity and heals the body.
“People don’t have to head for the woods to enjoy nature’s restorative effects, the Kaplans emphasize. Even a glimpse of nature from a window helps.” (Clay, 2001)
If even a glimpse can help, then imagine what it would be like to be submerged in nature! The idea that nature is a cure is sort of humorous when considering the fact that, perhaps, we are only ill because we are so separated from nature in the first place. The earth loves us! She wants to support us and we should return that love and maintenance!
For those who have drifted away from the glorious outdoors, why not try to rekindle that old flame? These simple steps can help us all remain in a healthy relationship with nature:
1.) Take A Trip
Sometimes, when I know I’m not expressing the affection I should towards the earth, I go somewhere I am unfamiliar with or have not been to in awhile. Those with the money and time for a vacation, try spending it somewhere away from urban areas. Those on a tight budget, find a natural setting locally such as a public park, a free tea garden, beach, or random space with trees. Basically, find a setting that is outside of the ordinary day.
Get comfortable. Focus on breathing. Let’s consider the air that fills our lungs. Notice the smells. Contemplate the fact that these plants allow us the oxygen we need to survive. Take time to appreciate that. Maybe shut your eyes while doing this, before taking in the full capacity of nature’s beauty.
3.) Be Present
When moving on to the other senses, such as the sight of majestic trees, the feel of sunshine warming the skin, and sound of falling rain, really pay attention to each individual detail. Appreciate everything felt, seen, heard, smelt and even tasted. Get lost in the abundant beauty that surrounds us each and every day.
4.) Rekindle That Fire
We must first bond with nature. Realize our connection. We were born from the earth and will return to it fully once our lives come to an end. Let’s show the earth that we love, respect, and need her. Thank her for supporting us and all other life forms.
It doesn’t just end here. We can’t just say we’ve become one with nature and leave it at that. All relationships are in need of constant care or they dwindle away. We must continue this affair with nature through constant visits, support during rough times, and above all expressing love. Surrounding ourselves in nature is only a portion of this relationship, we must give in return.
Protect her from harm. Fight for her safety. Do our part in protests against harmful practices that create more pollution and risk the safety of the earth and all of her inhabitants. Reduce our waste through reuse and recycling. Cut down on wasteful products and try to support companies that are eco-friendly. Eco-products are sometimes a bit out of our price range. When the opportunity arises however, we must do our part.
Spending a day outdoors can boost self-esteem. It can also leave us feeling confident in our abilities and even sexy. Snuggling up to nature could lead to a deeper connection with the people around us. We might find ourselves more patient, optimistic, present in our daily activities, and passionate about life as a whole.
Still skeptical? Spend a day practicing the exercises laid out above and take a moment, or two, to write about the experience. If that is too much to handle just yet, we can always take our daily routine outside. When exercising let’s take it outside so that we can immerse ourselves in nature. Maybe eat breakfast in the backyard. Take business meetings outside. There are endless possibilities; all we have to do is attempt to make that connection. It’s only natural.
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Assistant Ed: Kristina Peterson/Ed: Sara Crolick