The Healing Power of Nature
During these restrictive times of the pandemic, one thing you may be missing is getting out and about. Whether you going out for a run or meeting a friend at an outdoor restaurant, you felt the benefits of being outdoors. Soothing breezes and a glowing sunset naturally make you feel good. Well, the coronavirus can’t stop springtime — don’t let it stop you altogether from enjoying nature.
Even a walk around the block can nourish your senses when you’re mindful. The sight of budding flowers, a parade of clouds and the sound of birds singing can calm your spirit and bring back balance, at least for the moment. Do what you can to stay connected to nature in whatever way you can. It’s a beautiful path to greater wellness.
People have long been interested in the healing power of nature. Perhaps most famously, Henry David Thoreau spent two years secluded in the woods of Massachusetts while writing Walden, his classic meditation on life and nature. Even in 1845, Thoreau sensed that the forest, or any other outdoor setting, can quiet the mind and improve your health. More than a century and a half later, there is plenty of science on the healing power of nature to back him up. Ecopsychology — which explores the relationship between human beings and the natural world—is a growing field, and studies show that spending time in nature can reduce stress, improve overall feelings of well-being and happiness, raise your energy level and even increase your capacity for caring.
Nature’s Health Benefits
How to Get Your Daily Dose of Nature
Making the conscious decision to introduce more nature into your life is the first step in reaping its healing powers. Spend time planting in your garden, or simply relaxing in your backyard. Try leaving your phone, tablet or book inside and really focus on the smells, sounds, sights and textures surrounding you instead—the fragrance of your rose garden, the feel of the wind on your face, the chirping of the birds. When it’s time to get back to business as usual, remember that even life management can often be done outside; pay some bills from your patio, for example.
Try, too, to get outdoors when you exercise—do your morning yoga routine in a park, or walk the nature trail instead of hitting the treadmill. Nourish your body and your soul by dining outside during your office lunch hour or family dinner time.
When you can’t spend as much time outdoors as you’d like, bring a touch of the outdoors inside. Add indoor plants to your home or office space, or even a desktop water fountain. Hearing the sound of running water can have a calming effect, and studies have shown that having indoor plants can reduce headaches and fatigue.