‘N is for … Nature’

Did you know that in cities in which high rise living predominates, there is a lower level of overall wellbeing? It’s true. In fact, research has shown that living any higher than two storeys above ground level has a detrimental effect on wellbeing (and the higher you go, the worse it gets). This is a result of our need to be directly in contact with the earth. The animal in us gets a bit out of whack when we spend too much time away from the earth’s surface and it can have an unbalancing effect on the way we feel and behave.

I was interested to learn recently that even being able to see nature can improve the way we feel with studies in this area finding that patients who have a view of the nature from their hospital beds tend to recover from their illnesses faster than those who aren’t as fortunate and instead are surrounded by walls. I find it fascinating to think that looking at images of nature can also have a therapeutic effect too.

The same can happen when we get too busy or stressed out and when we spend too much time indoors. We see it in our students, that dissonance when they aren’t grounded. Easy to observe in others, this flighty agitation leaves us feeling disconnected and disorientated, unsettled and giddy and unable to think straight.

The remedy is simple – to be more grounded we just need to spend more time outdoors. Again, it doesn’t have to be doing anything radical (although as my good friend Master Tim does say, Dr. Ocean can fix it all!) but just being outside in the fresh air with our feet on the ground (preferably barefoot) can be enormously therapeutic. Or get into the ocean or that lake, no matter how cold it feels. The benefit you’ll receive will be quite remarkable.

I am also a big fan of getting out into inclement weather. As long as there’s no lightning, head out for a walk next time its raining (it’s my favourite weather to run in). You’ll be amazed at how refreshed you’ll feel when you get home. The wind and water are energising (you know how children go a little la la when it’s windy outside?) Well, we respond in the same way and it can be so good for us.

Camping (even in a caravan park) is also a really good way to reconnect with nature. Spending time in national parks (I know a number of readers of this blog have spent time this summer in Tasmania) can be aesthetically rewarding so we benefit on a multi-sensory level, with the peace and tranquility of being in nature having a beneficial effect on our otherwise overstimulated sensory systems.

This quote from Khalil Gibran sums it up perfectly:

“And forget not that the earth delights

to feel your bare feet and the winds

long to play with your hair.”

So what are you waiting for?  Go on – get out there!

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