The Impact Of Nature
I hope you’re enjoying your summer so far and taking some time for yourself. This is one of my favorite times of the year.
Last month I had the opportunity to take time off and it was mostly spent immersed in nature. I’m a nature girl. I love being outdoors whether it’s at the beach listening to the waves crash, hiking a tall mountain, taking a nature walk or just looking at beautiful flowers. It all makes me happy.
So, part of my travels, which I was unaware of ahead of time, was being completely disconnected from mobile, email or TV at a chalet in Alaska. This was music to my ears when I found out. But, I understand that some may not share my sentiments given that so many people rely on their mobile devices 24/7 for their oxygen supply.
But, I reignited my oxygen by completely shutting down from my electronics and think the others shared in the glory after just a few hours in this place of exquisite wonder.
And, what was there to do? Connect…deeply, with myself and others.
"The experience of connection may be explained by studies that used fMRI to measure brain activity. When participants viewed nature scenes, the parts of the brain associated with empathy and love lit up, but when they viewed urban scenes, the parts of the brain associated with fear and anxiety were activated. Nature inspires feelings that connect us to each other and our environment. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical wellbeing….."
My days were spent snowshoeing, hiking, adult sledding, eating delicious food (slowly) with others, story telling, reading, relaxing, meditating, and making fires waiting for the sun that never set. Some dared to plunge into the ice blue water pictured above after a long hike through the snow. Not me :)
“Nature deprivation, largely due to hours spent in front of TV or computer screens has been associated with depression. More unexpected are studies that associate screen time with loss of empathy and lack of altruism."
From the moment I arrived at the chalet, I felt immediately more calm and connected. My sleep and digestion were both improved.
I was happily isolated with nothing but the pure beauty of the mountains and ice glaciers surrounding me. It was like having nature all to myself . I was able to think more clearly and felt completely at peace.
Our environments impact our stress levels. And our stress levels directly impact our bodies. What you are experiencing at any moment, whether visually or audibly, is shifting your mood and how the nervous and immune system work.
Spending time in nature or even looking at nature scenes increases our well-being and ability to focus. This provides much needed rest for those of us with busy schedules and active minds. It allows space for creativity and productivity, refreshing the mind and body for new tasks.
Keep fresh flowers and plants at home and in the office for improved creativity, problem solving and productivity!
I can honestly say that when I was leaving the chalet I had tears in my eyes. I won't soon forget this special place and I am so grateful for the experience.
It continues to remind me how important time away from our mobile devices and social media is and how we all need to reconnect with one another in a world where people have become so disconnected.
Shut down your devices and sit down with a friend or loved one and share stories. Walk away with beautiful memories.
To your health & happiness,