Over the weekend, having recently learned of its existence, I went to a local botanical garden. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a disappointment for the part of me that wanted to see a million different plants and flowers in bloom, neatly curated on acres and acres of land. However, the other part of me that likes going to the gardens simply to reconnect with nature and become a bit more calm and relaxed was quite pleased. (I have to admit that I am somewhat spoiled after Denver Botanic Gardens I visited in June – such beauty and so many cool places to just sit, admire the flora, and do whatever! And in shade, too!)
Today, I wanted to remind you all how amazing nature is and that we should get in touch with our roots more often. We are SO busy with our lives these days: work/school – home – bed. Isn’t that the most popular cycle for us? It sure is for me. We see photos online of forests, flowers, the sea, etc., and we are in awe. But then we open a new tab/ window or walk away to complete a chore and forget about what we just saw and how it made us feel.
When we’re outside, we dash to our cars to take us wherever we want to go. We can go days, weeks, or even months without really SEEING nature. Who has time for that? We’ve already covered that none of us do. Nature can even be an inconvenience to us sometimes. Do I have to mow the lawn AGAIN? Ughr, I have to cut this branch before my neighbor complains about it. This stupid pollen! *rubs eyes and sneezes at the same time* I hated parking under a tree because my car would get covered with bird excrements whenever I did. (Somehow, that did not happen to other cars…)
Even though it might seem to you that you do not have time to seek out a natural oasis, I recommend that you MAKE time (if you have not done so already). It will be well worth it, I assure you.
Did you know that the risk of diabetes, heart disease, mental health disorders, or muscular/ skeletal issues goes down if you live in a green area? I’m assuming it’s because you just get out and do things more than if you live in a concrete jungle. On top of that, you breathe cleaner air. Being in a greener area for a couple of days boosts your immune system – it makes the killer cells in your body, responsible for attacking things like viruses and cancers, more efficient. Our body heals and invests in a protection system when it feels safe and calm. Smells found in nature – like pine and lavender can help put us in that state.
A study showed that with all things being equal, the rates of COVID-19 infections were lower in greener areas. Another one showed that a person will spend more on healthcare per year if they live in an area with fewer trees.
A few years ago, a place I worked at overlooked a magnificent lake. I loved walking up to the window and just looking into the vastness of the blue-green (that was, of course, dependent on the time of year, algae content, etc.). Unfortunately, I could only do it maybe once or twice a day. Otherwise, I was locked away with clients in a room with a narrow window overlooking the roof… Not very romantic. It became clear to me quite quickly that looking at the water would help me get back to baseline (or at least closer to it) whenever I was stressed. If I couldn’t go to the lake whenever I wanted, I figured I’d bring the lake to me. So, I printed out a photo of a lake and a forest and hung it on my wall. Whenever I got stressed but could not go look at the lake outside, I’d look at the one on my wall… and it WORKED! The power of imagination would transport me to a more serene place, and the blues and greens would instantly make me feel better.
It turns out that every bit helps.
OK, so say – you’ve made it outside. Now what? While eyes can feed, I believe our ears also need some nourishment. So, don’t plug in the earbuds. Just be there and be present. Does it sound boring to you to be doing nothing? It doesn’t have to be. There’s so much going on around you. Did you notice the bee figuring out which flower will be the most comfortable to sit on? Or the leaf that is trying to fall right next to its lover?
Again – other than just anecdotes from my personal life – researchers found people to be more creative and better at solving problems if they make their minds wander more often.
So, this week, take a moment and:
- locate some trees in your area
- turn your phone on silent or airplane mode
- go take a walk to the previously located area
- look around
- listen to the sounds around you
- smell the air
- let your mind wander
- feel the freedom
- enjoy the lightness of your soul
How do YOU plan to connect with Mother Earth to tap into that raw energy and potential?
P.S. 1. If you have not heard, there is a new mental health hotline in the USA. Dial 988 for a suicide and crisis line. (Are there hotline equivalents in your country? Feel free to share so I can add it to the list.)
P.S. 2. Remember that:
You are not alone.
True. I don’t know your circumstances. You might feel like you are alone. I know I sometimes do. But, please take comfort that there are people suffering everywhere. Sometimes you just need to reach out to find an understanding soul. While I am not great at comforting people, I’m definitely known for my listening skills, so feel free to contact me if you want to talk.
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