THE NATURE EFFECT
3 Ways the Healing Power of Nature Can Help You
The most accessible and readily available medicine that we have at our disposal is all around us: the healing power of nature. Of course, we are talking about nature and its beneficial impact on our lives. There are so many different ways nature can affect us: The calming effect of hearing the sounds of the forest, the grounding experience we receive from being outdoors, and the cleansing power of fresh air on the body are just some of the ways we benefit from immersing ourselves in nature. Nature is the ultimate healer and it’s free for everyone.
One of the most noticeable effects of re-connecting with nature’s healing power often comes from the mind or psyche first. Have you ever noticed how much better you can feel after just a short walk through the forest on a stressful day? Nature has an incredibly calming effect on the body and our nervous system, taking our mind from a heightened anxiety level (during work) to a more relaxed state (walking through the forest). Allowing the mind to rest brings clarity to our day. Noise pollution is an often overlooked source of stress; whether it is a constantly ringing phone, office chatter, traffic or any other type of noise. Getting out into nature, where it is a calmer and often more quiet environment, can help to decrease anxiety, improve depressive moods, or even heighten your awareness. Simply making the effort to re-connect with nature is giving you time to improve yourself. Experiencing the sounds, smells, tastes (if you dare), and feelings we get from being outside will give you a chance to build a stronger and healthier mind.
Nature, just like chicken soup, is good for the soul. Finding a quiet spot to observe nature and let the sun shine on your back is an unbelievably grounding experience and offers a chance for a quick meditation and reset. By bringing your mind and body back into nature you can re-balance your energy helping you to feel more aware of your surroundings and more appreciative of the positive things in your life. Re-connecting with nature is essential when trying to restore the balance between work, life, and play. The challenge of a demanding trail hike or experiencing wild life can trigger the release of endorphins, making us feel good. Getting outside provides a way to not only release energy (exercise) but also gain energy from the environment to fuel the soul and re-invigorate the body.
The most common aspect we think of when returning to nature is, of course, the effect it has on our physical body. Nature is a powerful cleanser that lends itself to so many positive physical benefits. Breathing pollutant-laden air triggers a cascade of inflammation and oxidative damage that spreads from the lungs throughout the body. Just by breathing clean air that is found in a forest rather than dirty air caused by our cities, our lungs will start to detoxify and function better. Of course getting outside and back to nature gives us a chance to exercise. Burning calories, increasing circulation, breathing more oxygen are all benefits derived from exercise that make our bodies better. Exercise can also increase the release of serotonin in the brain improving mood, sleep, and memory to name a few of the benefits. Even the simple act of getting outside and getting some sunshine produces Vitamin D in the body, and can help promote bone growth or help maintain bone density. The benefits of nature and the effects it can have on our body are limitless and we should look to take advantage of opportunities to get outside and back to nature.
We are often told to think outside the box, but physically getting outside of the box that many of us live and work in is perhaps even more important. Nature has a unique ability to connect the mind, body, and soul in a way that can be easy and stress free, as well as incredibly rewarding. So take the time to re-connect with nature and its healing power and see how good it feels. Listen to the birds, feel the dirt beneath your feet, breathe the forest air, and you will see so many improvements in your life.
About Paul Bradshaw:
Paul Bradshaw is a Kinesiologist at Sparkling Hill Resort. He graduated from the University of British Columbia Vancouver in 2010 with a Bachelor of Human Kinetics. He is the lead Whole Body Cryotherapy practitioner and also specializes in injury rehabilitation and prevention, and healthy weight loss. Paul is also a certified Kinesio Tape practitioner.