Is nature a panacea for happiness? I used to think running was a cure-all, but when that morphed into an appreciation of nature with the passing of time, I realized it was the same thing. You don’t have to climb to the top of a mountain or down a canyon wall. It can be as close as a nearby park or a rocking chair in a backyard. The sense of contentment that comes with being outside is a breath of fresh air both figuratively and literary. But is that happiness? Here is what I do know:
Nature gives the brain a break: How often do we say we need to step away for a minute? In this world where technology dominates our workplace and our home life, there seems to be a disconnect with how to relax. Nature gives your brain a chance to rest and tap into your senses without being in front of a computer screen. And with rest, comes the possibility of collecting thoughts and stimulation of a clearer mind.
Nature keeps you healthy: The fresh air and Vitamin D are just starters. Nature is known to reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure, maintain a healthy weight, and manage stress. When combined with walking, hiking, or climbing the benefits are accelerated.
Nature educates you about our natural world: Inspiration to focus on other things can take you way from the mundane tasks of the day, or a windowless office space. Oceans and sunsets have a natural ability to make us linger, birds building nests and squirrels searching for nuts make us smile, and even the changing leaves or brisk snowy days tempt us to guess the upcoming weather report. Is it possible that you learned about something that wasn’t there before or a curiosity was answered without reading a book? Hmm, maybe a child walking with you can teach you something about curiosity, if you let him.
Nature gives you a deep breath: It seems to be the subtle permission we need to just let things go. The truth is nothing is a cure-all for life’s challenges, but nature does take us away for a blink of time, so when we return to the realm of reality we are ready to tackle it with a fresh mind. So yes…
What is your I would be happy if…?
The Daily Post: Panacea