Being cut off from our surroundings has undoubtedly yielded a greater appreciation for the environment. With less travel and tourism, we have seen ecosystems slowly recover and with that, a renewed bloom of interest in adventure and the great outdoors.
Nature has a positive impact on many aspects of our wellbeing. It not only helps to ease the minds and soothe the senses, but it has also lasting physical benefits as well. A simple stroll through the forest can help to lower blood pressure, reduce pain, and relieve physical tension in the body. These effects are so powerful that some doctors have even started “prescribing” nature for common ailments. So, how can nature help to promote your wellness?
The awe and beauty of nature inspires poets to write, musicians to compose, and artists to paint. Nature reminds us of the expansive world and calls to the adventurous side of our spirit. Even mental health imbalances that obstruct our desire to fully engage with life, i.e., anxiety and depression, are improved while spending time in nature. Take a moment each day to observe and, if possible, immerse yourself in natural surroundings, amongst the trees and flowers, mountains, or sea. Breathe in deeply and allow nature to fill you with inspiration.
Our bodies have the inherent ability to restore and return to normal health. However, the immediate environment plays a critical role in the efficiency of healing. Nature seems to hasten the healing process, even for those who suffer from major illness or recovery from surgery. Natural settings help to reduce stress reactions like anxiety, and have been shown to reduce pain and inflammation, lower heart rate and blood pressure, induce positive mood states, and even promote healthy immune response.
Nature is a conduit for connecting us to the elements, our communities, and even our inner selves. Community gardening projects and farmers markets, eco-charities, and volunteerism bring people together and strengthen social bonds. Being away from the faint but ever-present whirring and buzzing of electronics, screen displays, and man-made barriers from the elements, the world opens, and you reconnect with a living and breathing environment. It is within this dynamic stillness that we may discover a deeper meaning in our own lives and existence. Nature connects us and we grow. So, take time to disconnect from the digital realm and reconnect with nature.
By Dr. Jason Culp
Research & Development Director, Chiva-Som