Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m not an “outdoors” person. I don’t get a thrill from gardening or hiking or biking or kayaking.
But I love nature.
When I am really stressed out, there’s nothing that soothes me more than heading to the ocean and watching and listening to the waves and the seagulls. My heart bursts at the sight of the trees in bloom in the spring, at viewing and smelling fields of wildflowers, and oh the majesty of mountains set off against big blue skies or hot pink sunsets.
People need nature. What they may not know is that being in nature actually does provide physiological benefits that improve your sleep, your diastolic blood pressure and even your hormone balance! And nature-based experiences have also been found to be therapeutic and healing, thereby improving ones overall emotional, spiritual and general psychological well-being.
I’ve taken to buying myself flowers every week to put on my desk. The act of arranging them in itself makes me smile and my eyes land on them during the day, or when I pass through my office. Of course, just think about how important flowers are to weddings, funerals and other special occasions…flowers and scents stimulate our emotions.
The great outdoors has other benefits. The vitamin D from the sunlight has been proven to be greatly important to our immune system. Season affect disorder (SAD) occurs when some individuals are deprived of natural light in the winter, and certainly has an effect on everyone’s mood and sleep habits to one degree or another. Consider how you feel in a bright and airy room versus a windowless cubicle.
Gardening (for those that don’t have a black thumb like I do) can also prove to be both physically and mentally beneficial. Many of the religious anecdotes indicate that spiritual leaders had key mystical experiences in natural settings. And according to John V Davis, “Survey results on frequency and triggers for peak experiences (Davis, Lockwood, & Wright) shows that nature is the most common trigger for peak experiences“ as defined by Maslow.
Flowers on your desk, plants in and around your home and office, walks on the beach or woodlands, all contribute major benefits to your Personal Environment. How will you include more of that this week?
- Natural Environments and Ideals of Human Excellence (phl2121.wordpress.com)
- Peak Experiences: Gifts That Transcend Your Head (space2live.net)