If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy,
If a blade of grass springing up in the fields has the power to move you,
If the simple things of nature have a message that you understand,
Rejoice, for your soul is alive. – Eleonora Duse
Being in nature brings me peace. I’ve always loved being outdoors, soaking up the sun, hiking mountains, walking in the woods and watching rivers flow. It’s so calming and peaceful.
When our kids were young, we spent many summers exploring the National Parks in Colorado, California, Montana, Wyoming, etc, hiking the mountains, boating the lakes, camping in the woods, rafting the Colorado River, horseback riding, and so much more. We were worried on our first trip because our boys were so into sports and video games, we thought they might get bored in the parks but they loved it, getting creative and turning everything into a game. Thank goodness for pinecones. We used the deadwood branches for bats and pinecones as both baseballs and soccer balls. When we hiked, I always brought Mentos candy with me, convincing the kids they were “power-ups”, giving a boost of energy whenever someone got tired. Of course, as they got older, they would scam the system to get extra “power-ups”.
Starting with our first dog, I walked in the woods every day with them. I was like the postman, rain, sleet or snow didn’t matter, we walked, and it always left me feeling refreshed and in awe of nature.
After Matt died, being in nature was the one place I could go and feel any sense of peace or connection, it was a place I could breathe and talk to Matt. To this day, I still feel most connected to Matt when I’m out in nature.
I know from experience, nature has the ability to heal the soul or at least soothe it. But don’t just take my word for it, science backs this up with studies that show being in nature can change your mood, helping you to feel healthier, happier, more peaceful and more creative.
Here are some wonderful benefits of spending time outdoors:
You get some much-needed “sunshine vitamin”- Vitamin D, which not only keeps your bones strong but can reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
You get delicious fresh air! If you thought all the pollution was outside, you’d be wrong. The EPA found indoor pollutants are often 2-5 times higher than outdoors so the body has to work harder to get the oxygen it needs to function. This raises your heart rate and blood pressure. Bonus, fresh air will help you sleep better at night!
Turns out not only is the air good for you but so is the dirt! Research shows a harmless bacteria commonly found in soil, can act as a natural antidepressant by increasing the release of serotonin, also called, “the happy chemical”.
You get to unplug by getting away from all the city noise, crowds, technology, stress and toxic culture giving your mind much-needed downtime. As you leave all the madness behind, your mind calms and you start to feel a sense of peace.
You get physical activity – doesn’t matter if you’re walking, hiking, running, swimming or jumping, you’ll be pumping up your endorphins which is your brain’s “feel good” hormones, making you feel clear-headed and calm.
Or if you’re not doing any physical activity, just sitting and appreciating the beauty of nature you get a deep sense of calm.
Nothing supports the opening of the heart and mind like the beauty, tranquility, and silence of the natural world. – Mark Coleman
So go, be in nature for the sheer delight, beauty, awe, mystery, and joy of it. Use all of your senses to fully enjoy the experience. Listen to the birds chirping, note the different colors of the leaves, taste a sweet juicy peach right off the tree, smell the crisp pine trees, dip your toes into a pool of cool water, feel the breeze as it caresses your skin. Go and be at peace.
My wish for all of you:
May the sun bring you new energy by day,
May the moon softly restore you by night,
May the rain wash away your worries,
May the breeze blow new strength into your being,
May you walk gently through the world and know it’s beauty all the days of your life. – Apache blessing
As always, I’d appreciate it if you would help me get the word out about the Matt Kurtz Kindness Award of $250 (nominate someone who inspires you) and the Matt Kurtz Kindness Grant of $250 (submit an act of kindness you would do with $250).
4 thoughts on “Can Nature Soothe Your Soul?”
I love this. So beautifully said. So resonates with me/us all deeply.
And I love that you came up with ways to gamify the experience with the boys with power ups! Such a fun mom!
[We actually are using a study about the power of walking to enhance creative problem solving in our negotiation work 🙂 And the power of nature in peacebuilding is so great! If you haven’t seen it my boss, William’s Ted Talk talks a little bit about the power of walking: https://www.ted.com/talks/william_ury?language=en%5D
You might also like this wonderful statement by Thich Nhat Hanh on falling in love with Earth: https://plumvillage.org/letters-from-thay/thich-nhat-hanhs-statement-on-climate-change-for-unfccc/
love the ted talk, especially “hide the spears” – we need to apply that to our leadeers today. but a very inspirational talk that makes so much sense. he’s so right on, when you walk side by side, you don’t see fighting, there’s a comraderie that you don’t get when you’re face to face which feels more defensive. and i have a much better understanding and appreciation of Abrahams Path.
and of course anything Thich Nhat Hanh says, we need to stop and pay attention to: “The Earth is our mother, nourishing and protecting us in every moment–giving us air to breathe, fresh water to drink, food to eat and healing herbs to cure us when we are sick.” feel those words, make the connection, we need to take care of mother earth and make immediate changes to the way we treat our planet before it’s too late!
thanks for sharing, love the links!
Great article. I think it would be hard to find anyone in the world that would not agree that interacting with nature is personal, enriching, restorative, and just plain fun. When I walk, I feel my best. It’s that simple!
so true! and when you walk in beautiful natural surroundings, even better!