5 Ways Nature Heals You
There’s something… peculiar, about nature. It’s as if when you enter its engrossing arms you feel… different. Your senses are heightened; the green hue of the leaves is intensified - almost disproportionately - like you hadn’t seen trees in years. The sounds are all-encompassing, a never-ending symphony of the perfect music. And lest we forget the smells, either. There’s nothing like the hydrating, captivating, nearly ethereal smell of fresh rainfall.
Nature is incredible; human beings - and all animals - are built to revel in it. Evolutionarily speaking, that makes the most sense. For hundreds of thousands of years we did nothing but experience the truest form of nature. We weren’t cordoned off to our homes for days or weeks at a time. We weren’t confined to the concrete rustle and bustle of a big city. There were no chemical fumes surrounding every inch of our being. What have we lost as a result of disconnecting ourselves from nature, and what could we gain should we plug back in?
Well, we’ve done the research. Here are 5 ways nature can heal your soul.
#1: Say Goodbye to Your Worries
Nature has the incredible ability to completely omit any and all worries from your mind. Instead of being plagued by anxiety, we are captivated by the utter immensity and depth of what lies before us. Instead of worrying about the deterioration of your career, or your house, or anything, you recognize the timeless equilibrium which exists in the natural world.
As we immerse ourselves in nature, it imbues these deep wisdoms within us - if only for just a moment, it is worth it. Allow yourself to become completely present and forget about the past, the future, and any troubles they may have caused you. Instead, enjoy the now. Enjoy what lies in front of you. Be present.
This is possible for us because of the fundamental aspects of nature. It is where we are meant to be, it is the place we evolved to feel as most comfortable. It only makes sense, too. We wouldn’t evolve to hate the environment in which we reside. Instead, it fits every one of our needs, because our framework has evolved to make it so.
#2: Sunlight is Sensational
Let’s talk about the sun - the thing everybody seems to be afraid of in today’s world. Yes, too much of it is bad - we certainly don’t want to come in after a day on the beach looking like a lobster.
But, without the extremes in mind, the sun is akin to a benevolent figure gifting us with properties essential to our very life. I’m talking about Vitamin D. In today’s world, approximately 41% of the population is deficient in Vitamin D - that is far from good.
Here are just a few of the benefits of healthy Vitamin D levels: supports a healthy immune system (it’s integral, actually), regulates mood and fights depression, helps boost weight loss efforts (and, consequently, reduces your risk for heart disease).
Yay for Vitamin D!
#3: Soothe Your Pain, Ease Your Mind
Cortisol is a MASSIVE player in the chronic illnesses we see today; not only of the body, but also of the mind. That’s because people are over-stressed, not getting enough exercise, and not being in nature close to as much as they should be!
Being in nature checks all of these off the list - most of the time. Hiking covers physical activity, you’re low levels of Vitamin D are supplanted with ample levels, and your stress is immediately reduced due to you not living in a perpetual state of ruminating on anxiety of the future or pain of the past.
Here are a few of the detrimental effects of prolonged exposure to excess Cortisol: anxiety, depression, digestive issues, headaches, heart disease, sleep problems, weight gain, and memory and mental acuity issues. Get out in nature and prevent this from happening!
#4: Challenge Is Integral
We’ve been talking extensively in regards to how soothing, calming, and peaceful nature is. That’s all well and good, but nature also offers us the experience of challenging ourselves - an equally important aspect of self-improvement and happiness in totality.
In life, there are two sides to every coin - one cannot exist void of the other. Look around you, envelope yourself in the duality of our material and metaphysical world. We have cold, and we have hot. We have tall, and we have short. We have suffering, and we have nirvana. We have thin, and we have thick. We have happy, and we have sad.
In order to experience the positive, we must also experience some degree of the negative. That is why voluntarily exposing ourselves to challenge is so utterly important! The more challenge we experience (especially on our own terms) opens the door to a healthier, more fulfilling life.
Go on a hard hike, go for a swim in a glacier stream, do some trail running. Whatever it may be, challenge yourself!
#5: Put Things In Perspective
Cities and towns are convenient. You don’t have to hunt or gather your food, instead it’s pre-packaged for you ready to be consumed. You don’t have to worry about shelter, your house won’t be falling over any time soon. There are none of the traditional worries in the modern world.
But, with that, we do indeed lose some perspective. Especially as a result of what that convenience produces. I’m talking about smog, about the emissions that cover our night sky. I’m talking about the light pollution concealing what was once a window into the eternal.
When we lay in the grass of a remote destination, free from any pollution of the sky above us, we are left with the most incredible array of lights man has ever been exposed to. Billions of stars, billions of galaxies, nebulas which stretch light-years across - all for our eyes to peer into. What we realize from such experiences is the completely trivial nature of our worries and issues.
In the totality of our universe, we are but a microscopic speck in a vast ocean. Instead of worrying so much, enjoy what you already have. Our existence is really quite riveting.
To conclude, we have a challenge for you: go out into the wilderness (or nature, in general) this weekend and fully immerse yourself in the experience. Put your phone away for a few minutes and completely submerge yourself in the moment you find yourself. Take some deep breaths, enjoy the views, and feel your heart being healed by nature itself.
We don’t have much time. Enjoy what the world has to offer.
By Dallas Emigh for PNWBUSHCRAFT