Nature seems to hold some sort of mystical healing magic. Being outside has always brought me a sense of peace. Repeating patterns, cause and effect, weather, all things found in nature resonate deeply with me.
Growing up we lived on a lake and I spent a great deal of my time sitting by the water. Sometimes I would draw, or sunbathe or just let my thoughts wander. Watching the water ripple, reflecting the sun like flakes of glitter always soothed me.
Now as an adult I spend a great deal of my time on the porch watching my children play, trying to identify which birds are at my feeders, or imagining what the clouds resemble as they roll through. Yes, I still love to watch the clouds. It’s the simple pleasures in life that are genuinely meaningful.
On a recent beautiful seventy-degree day, we headed to one of our favorite parks to walk the trails. As soon as I found myself engulfed in trees, dirt, and bird song a feeling of peace washed over me. It struck me so suddenly that I stopped walking without noticing.
The moment was perfect. My husband and sons were walking on the trail in front of me smiling and goofing around, the sweet smell of leaves left over from fall wafted up with each step, chirping and rustling from squirrels could be heard in the near distance. Nothing extraordinary was happening, but the simplicity of it was complete beauty. Mindfulness, being present in this moment came easily, without effort.
The outdoors centers me. No matter what is going on in my life if I spend time with mother nature I am restored. It turns out, it’s not just me. Scientists have been studying the effects of nature on all humans. According to the Journal of Environmental Psychology and Psychological Science, these are the top 11 reasons to get outside today.
- Improve short-term memory
- Restore mental energy
- Stress relief
- Reduced inflammation
- Better vision
- Improved concentration
- Sharper thinking and creativity
- Possible anti-cancer effects
- Boosts immune system
- Improved mental health
- Reduced risk of early death
Some or maybe even all of these wonderful benefits of spending time in nature could be connected to vitamin D. The sun nourishes us with 80 to 90 percent of our vitamin D requirements, according to Dr. Michael F. Holick, M.D. Vitamin D encourages bone and cell growth, strengthens our immune systems and helps reduce inflammation.
Whether it’s the vitamin D, fresh air, breaking free of technology, or some other undiagnosed reason, science has proven time outdoors is beneficial for our health. How can you increase time spent in the raw beauty that is our planet Earth?
Our family plans to visit nature parks, play tennis, and play ‘guess that cloud shape’ in every free luxurious moment we have. So if you’re looking for me check the back yard. Chances are I’ll be involved in a competitive badminton game playing barefoot. Sounds like an excellent way to celebrate Earth day. What do you say, you wanna play?
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