When was the last time you played in the dirt? Bent to smell a flower? Spotted a cardinal’s bright gloss in a bush, or collected pebbles from the edge of a creek? For some, these are everyday occurrences. More and more people are recognizing the beauty of nature and the importance of getting out into what we have separately named “nature” – the untouched (at least somewhat) spaces where life of all kinds is allowed to flourish in the fresh air.
With the daily grind of life, though, the jobs and schedules and even bad weather we all face, this can sometimes seem like an extra chore instead of a natural, everyday part of our lives. The importance of making the beauty of nature part of our lives, though, should not be underestimated.
The Beauty of Nature
Recent studies (including one where a team of UK scientist outfitted walkers with electrodes and had them walk in the woods!) are showing strong connections between natural spaces and low stress, increased happiness and higher meditative states. Doctors in the US are writing prescriptions for “outdoor experience” to combat obesity and depression. And while walking in the woods may not appeal to everyone, there are many different ways to get your daily dose of green.
If forging trails or wading in streams with frogs and crayfish sounds like it would raise your stress levels, try something a little tamer to begin with. A walk through your neighborhood park would work just as well, provided there is a higher ratio of trees, grass and green spaces to concrete. There are interesting places all over that you might not think of spending time in, but which make tending a window box creates your very own green space just outside your door, and working the soil and growing herbs or flowers is a wonderful way to add nature to your life without, say, worrying about bears.
Other Places To Find The Beauty of Nature
There may even be botanical gardens or garden parks you can visit, both beautiful places to enjoy greenery while generally keeping your feet on a paved path. During some of our frigid and icy winter days, when outdoor play was just out of the question, I brought my children to a local greenhouse, open daily for visitors and perfect for soaking up Vitamin D along with eyefuls of chlorophyll-bright foliage.
If you already spend lots of time soaking in the beauty of nature, wonderful! Discover some new places to explore, or set new challenges for yourself. There may be a nature center or hiking trail in your area that you haven’t been to in a while, or a bike trail you’ve been dying to try. Of course, there are many people living in city centers or urban areas that don’t offer much close by in the way of natural spaces. The good news is that, with more and more discoveries being made about nature’s positive effects on our mental and physical health, greater efforts are being made to bring at least a little bit of green – living roofs, pocket parks and non-profits that offer camping for urban children, to name a few – into everyone’s lives.