“Nature tops the list of potent tranquilizers and stress reducers. The mere sound of moving water has been shown to lower blood pressure.” ~ Patch Adams, M.D., Gesundheit! …
I recall experiencing an unusually difficult winter several years back. The prior year I had took up running every day that I possibly could, and had religiously done so for most of the year, up until the approaching winter managed to find a way to keep me indoors, and with the limited space for running, I had to find other means of exercise. It was during this period of my life that I began to notice that my mind and spirit does not function properly when I become inactive–my stress levels began to escalate and things that were not really that important tended to seem like they were. And as my concentration levels started to diminish, a feeling of fatigue often times would settle in.
It was while in reflection during this period of my life that I realized that a simple remedy for my stress was spending time outside. Just a little time on a walk or a bike ride, or at a park or out in nature, helps me to clear away some of the fog that clouds my thoughts and allow the clarity of fresh air and nature to bring to me all the abundant joy and beauty that abounds and surrounds me. Even in the winter, there is much to do and find that can help me to relax and to feel more balanced and calmer–scooping or playing in the snow, a brisk walk around the block, observing the snowfall on the ground and on the trees.
What really bothers me is the rut I fall into when I take a break from nature. It seems that if I let things get in the way, I tend to not make time for it, and instead turn to other remedies such as Advil and Tylenol.
Nature is here for us. It holds the potential to help reduce our stress and free our spirits, but only if we use it and allow it the chance to benefit our health and add positively to our lives. Feel the breeze through the leaves brush across your skin. See and hear the lightning and thunder as the storms pass overhead and then smell the rain in the air afterwards. Listen to the gentle water trickling in a stream or experience the crashing waves at the beach. Hear the sounds of the birds and animals, and feel the warmth of the sunlight upon your skin. Come to discover the gifts and the peace of mind, body, and spirit that nature can bring into your life.
Go outside and spend five minutes just sitting with your eyes closed listening to nature.
Questions to consider:
Why does spending time in nature so often end up low on our list of priorities?
How do you feel when you’ve found a wonderful spot in nature? How would you feel if you were to spend more time in such places?
What are some of the obstacles that keep us from being out in nature? What are some strategies for dealing with those obstacles?
For further thought:
“A soul who is not close to nature is far away from what is called spirituality. In order to be spiritual one must communicate, and especially one must communicate with nature; one must feel nature.” ~ Hazrat Inayat Khan, The Art of Personality