How often do we spend our time outside as if with blinkers on, I’m guilty of this too. Such a hurry to get from A to B, we forget to slow down and take in what’s around us. I often pass others walking to work or the shops, headphones on, head down in their own little world.
No wonder pedestrians with headphones on are at risk when crossing roads. So focussed on whats inside their head, they forget that there’s a world outside. No interaction or acknowledgement of their surroundings or others they pass.
When was the last time you took a walk in the park and took time to stand or sit and do nothing but take in the sights around you?
With no distractions.
Our ancestors were closely connected to their environments, they had to be. They needed to know where to find food, water, shelter and also how to avoid predators.
Many of us seem to have lost our connection with nature.
From a holistic perspective, good health relies on the connections between body, mind, social and spirit. Humans are social animals and our connections with others are important for our both our physical and mental health.
Many of us now spend our whole lives in big cities and rarely venture into the countryside.
Maybe it’s a generational thing, but when I was growing up we spent a lot of time outside. Each year my mum and dad took us on holidays camping by the beach. It wasn’t glamorous and very basic, we loved it and played outside, most of the time we ran around barefooted and free spirited.
Our home wasn’t very big and with 4 daughters in a 3 small bedroom house a lot of our time was spent in the backyard, building cubby houses and mucking about.
As our modern lives get busier and busier how much time do we spend outdoors in nature?
There are many who rarely leave the city and spend all their free time walking on hard surfaces in and outdoors, in front of the television or on social media. Maybe they do go on holidays and when they do it will be spent in man made surroundings that are just like home, but maybe with a pool.
Why do we need to spend time in nature and what are the benefits?
- Time spent in nature increases our happiness and reduces depression, stress and anxiety. Allows us to focus on our surroundings and forget our worries and appreciate natural beauty instead. A form of meditation.
- Sun exposure is important for our bodies to make vitamin D. There’s a reason why so many of us are vitamin D deficient, we don’t spend enough time outside. Low vitamin D can increase risk of depression.
- Environmental awareness – time spent in the countryside and in national parks allows us to witness changes in seasons and the effects of climate change or drought on wildlife and trees and plants.
- There is life outside cities – visiting smaller communities in the countryside exposes us to different cultures and we can get a different perspective on what’s important. For us in the city it might be access to good coffee/internet access and in the countryside – rainfall for crops and animals, seasonal changes or pests.
- Walking in general may reduce blood pressure and walking outdoors and exposed to natural surroundings is a great way to get exercise.
- Our eyes love the colour green – its the easiest colour to focus on within the light spectrum. Focussing on natural green scenes helps to relieve eye strain.
Some ideas to start your reconnection with nature.
- Join or start a walking group. Its a great way to meet people and socialise while exercising. Try to include some walks in the park or even better countryside.
- Stargaze – on a clear and moonless night look up and wonder at the infinity of the universe and try to identify the planets from the stars. Mars has a slight red glow.
- Take a walk to your nearest beach, take your shoes off and feel the sand under your feet.
- Spend time near water – do you have lakes or rivers near you? Try to imagine where the water comes from – rain, mountains, oceans. Trace it back to the source in your mind.
- Visit your local zoo or animal sanctuary. Even better volunteer to help with the animals.
- Join a bush regeneration gardening group.
- Go for a drive in the countryside – try to get off the beaten track and stay in a small town, they would appreciate your custom.
There are many more ways to reconnect with nature and appreciate it’s beauty. Share some more ideas, I’d love to hear from you.
Don’t take our world for granted, we all do from time to time. Take time to smell the flowers and appreciate at the all wonders around you.
The relationship between nature connectedness and happiness: a meta-analysis, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4157607/
Sour mood getting you down? Get back to nature, https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/sour-mood-getting-you-down-get-back-to-nature
A walk in nature can be good for your head, your happiness and your relationship, https://www.abc.net.au/life/walking-in-nature-benefits-for-head-happiness-relationship/10450976