When you look at the above photo, don’t you immediately feel calmer? I do. Nature is one of the best ways to bring joy, peace, and happiness into our lives – and it’s absolutely free!
You probably already know this. However, even though most of us realize that enjoying the outdoors is a quick remedy to feeling less stressed, we often get caught up in our busy lives and take nature for granted.
I’m certainly guilty of that. As a freelance writer constantly meeting deadlines, I’m often indoors pounding on computer keys. As I’m writing this blog, I can look out my window and see the bright morning sun, the hibiscus blooming, and hear the birds singing. Nature is calling my name, but I’ll be in my office all morning. Even if you’re not a writer like me, most people spend way too much time in front of lap tops, televisions, iPads, and iPhones, cooped up indoors even when the weather is gorgeous outside.
So let’s change that. Even if it means getting up an hour earlier to take a quick walk before work, packing a lunch to eat outside at a nearby park, or dining al fresco.
Think of how nature makes you feel and you’ll be inspired to get out more. Something as simple as walking in a forest or meadow can be magical and awe-inspiring. Can’t you just feel the negativity draining out of you just thinking about it?
Every chance we get, my husband and I go to the beach where our sailboat is docked. The minute I see the ocean, I literally feel the tension and stress melt away. Sailing is the ultimate way to leave our troubles on shore. Hiking in the nearby spectacular Santa Rosa Mountains in the desert where I live inspires peace and tranquility. I can even find refuge and comfort in my own back yard, simply looking at the nearby mountains, admiring my flowers and herbs, and listening to our water fountain.
Springtime is the perfect time to embrace nature with the emergence of tulips and bright green leaves and blossoms sprouting on trees. The warm sunshine not only provides us with essential Vitamin D but also instantly brightens our mood. Perhaps you have a favorite hiking, biking, picnic spot, or getaway on your balcony or yard that immediately boosts your spirit.
Science backs up the fact that nature offers us inner peace and joy. Studies show that even a limited dose of nature like a short walk or simply looking outside through a window is good for us. Nature can improve our mental state, lower blood pressure, reduce cortisol levels (the stress hormone), and increase our energy. The great outdoors can even provide a surge of creative energy. That’s why you’ll often see people in scenic spots with their easels. Others are inspired to write poetry.
So, just in case you aren’t already inspired to run out there and enjoy nature, here are a few ideas to get you outdoors:
- Fly a kite.
- Stargaze and watch the heavens light up.
- Spread a blanket over the grass and take normal activities such as reading, doing homework with the kids, or simply discussing the events of the day outdoors.
- Plant a small vegetable garden.
- Build or buy a birdfeeder and watch the birds frolic.
- Visit the Farmer’s Market.
- Watch a sunrise or sunset.
- Go camping.
- Grab your grandkids and a butterfly net, ball, or gardening shovel and head outdoors and imitate the way kids carefully examine a bug, smell a flower, or inspect a rock.
Keep in mind that the best way to reap the ultimate reward from being in nature is doing so in a mindful way. That means putting away your iPhone while you’re outside and focusing on the beauty of nature.
Me – I’m going to take my own advice and eat lunch on my patio. And this afternoon, if my heads starts to spin after hours on the computer, I’m going to take a quick walk, aware that the best ways to come up with brilliant ideas and be more creative is to take a break with nature.
How will you incorporate more nature into your life?