The Healing Power of Nature
Even as a child, we have an inherent fascination with the natural world. Nature allows us to clear our minds and realize our innate connection to the universe. The sounds, smells, and rhythms of nature have transformative powers of healing. Spending time immersed in nature allows us to absorb the beauty of the natural world and enjoy its wonderment with each sense, causing us to lose sight of the challenges of everyday life. Unplugging from reality encourages you to be present in the moment, to quiet your thoughts and simply absorb the world around you. Concentrating your thoughts on the sights, smells, and sounds around you is a form of meditation that brings your attention to the present, minimizing stress and anxiety.
Studies have linked nature to improved feelings of happiness and wellbeing, stronger sense of purpose, reduced stress, and increased energy. Sunlight provides vitamin D, boosting mood and calming the nervous system. Vitamin D also promotes calcium absorption, reducing the risk of hypertension, cancer, and certain autoimmune diseases. Additionally, a series of studies published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology revealed that people who spend at least 20 minutes a day outdoors have elevated energy levels and increased overall mood. An additional study found that people are more generous and socially conscious when in nature; even looking at pictures of nature strengthened interpersonal connections and reinstilled values of caring and generosity.
Even if you are unable to spend as much time outdoors as you’d like, there are simple ways to bring nature into your daily life. Eating lunch outdoors, reading a book in the garden, or taking a short walk on the way to breakfast are great ways to get outdoors. If you are unable to immerse yourself in nature, you can reap similar benefits by closing your eyes and visualizing yourself in nature from the comfort of your home. Bringing touches of the outdoors into your home such as indoor plants or desktop fountains can promote similar sensations to actually being outside. Something as small as opening a window to let a breeze in may have positive effects on health and happiness. Nature’s healing and cleansing power are immense; getting in touch with nature may be the simplest way to get in touch with yourself.