Stress. Anxiety. Depression. Feelings of Helplessness. Feelings of Hopelessness.
These are all too common symptoms of modern living.
Most of us carry the burden of some financial stress, relationship stress, or education stress. The evolution of human civilization has made people incredibly powerful together as a group with complex societies and the methodical organization of work. These complexities and demands are necessary for the prolific advancement of humanity as a whole, but as individuals, we can become spiritually lost to our purpose in this life.
We can forget about the beauty that is all around us. We can close our eyes and see no further than concrete slabs and pavement. We can see no further than money, products and our next big purchase. We can become lost in society. We can become lost in the life that man created. A self-imposed prison of restrictive comforts and obligations.
Perhaps life was never meant to be this complicated. Perhaps our inner animal resents being contained to this mundane, safe and controlled life. Perhaps in each of our hearts, there is a longing to return to where we all had once begun in our evolutionary process.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that even in this most advanced time of human civilization, anxiety and depression disorders run rampant among North American populations. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that 18% of Americans suffer from anxiety disorders every single year .
Well, the good news is that nature still surrounds us and nature is a beautiful healer for lost and hurt souls. There are many ways to get your needed dose of nature today. It can be in the form of a nice walk outside, with the sun shining on your face, listening to the birds sing and feeling the gentle breeze of the wind across your skin, or it can be through adventurous activities deep in the heart of nature which reconnects us with our primal roots. It matters not how you take the time to reconnect with the life that has shaped and created us, it only matters that you do it!
There was a study performed in 2015 where two groups of participants were ordered to perform 90 minutes of walking in either a natural or an urban environment while having their brain activities monitored. Interestingly enough, the group that was selected to take their walks in more natural environments showed much less activity of the prefrontal cortex in the brain, which is associated with repetitive, negative thoughts and emotions. The type of thoughts that can replay in a person’s head over and over on a continuous loop like a broken record. Nature walks brought about a deeper sense of calm to these individuals when compared against those who walked the urban streets.
Some days we lack the time to get out into nature though and what do we do on those days? Well, studies have also shown that sounds and images of nature can positively influence our mental health and overall sense of well-being with similar benefits provided as actually being outdoors.
So don’t shut out mother nature from your life! She helped bring you into this world and one day she will welcome you back. We can all benefit from a little more calm and tranquility in our lives. Give your inner animal that taste of nature that it so desires every chance you get.
Anxiety and Depression Association of America (March, 2019) Facts & Statistics. Retrieved from https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics
Harvard Health Publishing (July, 2018) Sour mood getting you down? Get back to nature. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/sour-mood-getting-you-down-get-back-to-nature