The pulsing energy of big cities has its loyal fans. But often even they are counting days till their next seaside or mountain getaway. Nature has the power to provide a much-needed comfort when we’re lonely, or a sanctuary of solitude when we wish to be left alone.
But most importantly, the healing power of nature impacts our emotional and physical well-being. A natural environment or even a high-quality photograph of a beautiful landscape can relieve anxiety, reduce anger and fear, lower heart rate and muscle tension. The therapeutic impact of the nature truly has no limits.
When environment goes wrong
Our environments can sometimes have an enormously negative impact on us. They can be unpleasant, stressful and disturbing causing us to feel helpless and upset.
The sensations we experience at any given moment are affecting not only our mood but also our endocrine, nervous and even immune systems. Distressing surroundings raise heart rate, elevate blood pressure and muscle tension. An agreeable environment, on the contrary, reverses these effects. And usually nature is where we turn to in pursuit of that.
How nature nurtures
All landscapes have their own beauty through which we can rediscover the healing and rejuvenating power of all the great things nature gives us for free.
It may be the last place you'd choose as a vacation destination. Normally plains don’t have the same impact as a seashore or a mountain range. What is there to say? – They don’t immediately strike us as something extraordinary.
But in truth, plains and fields tend to be overlooked.
My grandma lived in the countryside in the middle of nowhere. Where there were no houses there were fields and plains. They unfolded about anywhere you looked. Walking along seemingly endless fields at sunset felt liberating. This sense of freedom imprinted on my memory, and whenever I’m away from the city now, I always get a similar feeling.
Nowhere else will you find the skyline that is so vivid and profound. Plains and fields have the power to cultivate a positive mindset and boost the process of healing and recovery. And breathing in fresh air will make things as clear as a bell.
The sea soothes. Watching the waves distracts us from our own problems. After all, it’s been here a long time and we’ve seen nothing that it hasn’t.
Spending time by the sea makes us calmer, happier and more relaxed. Even the smell of sand and sea water make us feel good. The sea has the power to naturally boost mental, physical and emotional health.
Swimming, surfing or snorkeling have obvious benefits, all being exciting physical activities. But even as much as sitting by the water enjoying the view and breathing in the salty sea air can reboot the respiratory system and alleviate the symptoms of asthma, sinus infections, bronchitis and a regular cough. Just one day at the beach makes a big difference.
Mineral of high value
Sea salt is precious. There were times when it was used as a form of payment. It’s a wellspring of many vital minerals, such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium. Its healing quality helps build a stronger immunity, improves brain function and heart health, boosts energy levels and lowers blood sugar. It also promotes healthy pH and electrolyte balance for the smooth functioning of our body.
It’s in our genes to be humbled by the grandeur of our natural environment. We get absorbed by the majestic mountain sceneries and in no time become distracted from our own stress and discomfort.
Several studies show that having a view of the mountains from a hospital window can speed up the recovery and even make physical pain more tolerable.
The healing energy of the mountains fuels our body and mind. We feel balanced by their tranquility and silence. When we feel lonely and isolated mountains give us the support we need connecting us to our essence.
Spending time up high supports heart health and significantly reduces risks of heart diseases. High altitudes give our lungs an opportunity to breathe in the freshest air, free of toxins and other harmful pollutants. Mountain air helps people with allergies and other respiratory problems. High chance that you won’t need that allergy relief meds you’ve packed for a hike.
Also, mountains are filled with various pastimes to keep your body busy: hiking, climbing, skiing, camping, canoeing, birdwatching. To name a few.
Woods have always been steeped in fairy-tale mystery. Besides its obvious aesthetic qualities, time spent in the woodland lowers blood pressure, cures hormonal imbalances, reduces the production of cortisol (the stress hormone) and not just that.
Trees have a huge impact on our nervous and endocrine system because of the phytocides the trees produce to protect themselves from insects and other intruders. By inhaling these oils we find balance and calm and improve our immune system function.
Lately people of different cultures got interested in rediscovering the ancient Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, aka forest bathing. The main idea of shinrin-yoku is being one-on-one with the nature, slowing down and absorbing the present moment. It’s a great time to activate your sense: listen closely to every sound, look up and around you, touch the bark of a tree, make a skin contact with the ground.
If you want to give forest-bathing some extra thought, you definitely need to check out the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy.
By getting in touch with nature we recognize that it is a not-so-secret and vital ingredient of all life. Like it or not, but we are one with the great outdoors. And so it’s our duty to treat with respect, honor and cherish the natural world, as we won’t be here without it.