I’ve lived in cities, suburbs, rural areas, beach towns, you name it. Apartments, houses, hotels – I’ve been around. Whether you live in the urban jungle, the ‘burbs or out in the sticks, the advantages of nature are not always taken.
It’s hard, sometimes, to find more than a wisp of grass in the cracked concrete in any city. Even in the suburbs, finding an actual isolated piece of what the Earth used to be, or is supposed to be, can be hard. It’s hard to make time, however, even when your backyard is a wilderness.
But you need to make time. I know you have homework or real work and community activities and you need to make dinner and take care of the kids and find time to fix the sink. You know – the infinite list of to-do that doesn’t even end with your death.
It’s important to bask in the sunlight. To breathe in a clean wind. To feel calm mist tickle your cheeks. To feel the warmth of a meadowbed. Take it all in. It’s the gift from Creator or creation or The Big Bang. It doesn’t matter what you believe. It truly is a gift.
Along with the huge task list we are burdened with in today’s society – most seemingly meaningless, by the way – comes depression, anxiety, emotions that come with not being naturally equipped for the modern hustle and bustle. We need that natural connection to remember our roots as human beings, a part of the wheel of life. We need that natural connection to quell our fear of the trivial, to appreciate finer and more pressing matters.
Studies show that being one with nature can reduce stress and heal us physically, emotionally and spiritually.
“Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. It may even reduce mortality, according to scientists such as public health researchers Stamatakis and Mitchell.
Research done in hospitals, offices, and schools has found that even a simple plant in a room can have a significant impact on stress and anxiety.” (Source)
I know this is true. No matter where my mom hauled me to or where I visited, I always had an escape plan. (Add yours to the map!)
In Rochester, NY, off Flower City Park, there is a path that leads to a bridge. But if you go against your gut, you will find a natural area with a peaceful Stonehenge-like sitting area.
In Pine Point, Maine, you just need to follow King Street until you hit the marsh and the beach where, high or low, the tide will captivate you.
In Hi-Nella, NJ, behind Fox Ridge Apartments, there is a wood with a stream that leads through big concrete cyllinders through which you can travel to nearby developments, all the while catching frogs and enjoying the steady ripple of water over slightly graded bedding.
The hills of Orange County, NY, always provided a wonderous view for when the tension was too much.
The Earth has always been there for me, and it is for you, too.
Unsurprisingly, studies also show that too much time in front of computer screens or televisions or around anything unnatural can be the cause of depression in many. So, stop reading this and find a patch of meditative perfection that you can call yours.
If you’re more goal-oriented and can handle the wretched background, you should take a look at this list of 101 Nature-Oriented Things To Do to get you started.