Feeling a little blah? Need to shift your energy levels? Want to find a way to increase your productivity and boost your wellness?
Turns out it’s pretty simple.... Get out of your office or off the couch, get some fresh air and go play outside. There’s a reason it’s called the Great Outdoors!
As a surfer, I’m lucky enough to experience a connection with nature on a daily basis. For me, spending time in the ocean, or any outdoor green space is as important a habit as most people’s daily caffeine fix.
Studies have shown that beaches, forests and other natural green environments have positive health benefits. After spending time in these types of surroundings, people report having a reduction in stress, anger and aggressiveness. Recovery time from stressful situations is faster in natural, green surroundings than in urban areas. Natural surroundings have also been found to improve mood and reduce depression. Reports show that spending time in nature helps to lower blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and stress hormone levels.
Pretty good huh... You want in ?
Here are 3 simple ways to start connecting with nature:
1. Be humble
Step outside and remind yourself how powerful the planet is. So often we get caught up in our own lives so much that we start living in a bubble. A bubble of technology, information overload and materialism. We get disillusioned as to what is really important in life.
Go sit on a cliff top or in a field and watch a storm roll in. Go swim or surf in the ocean and feel the power of the waves. Sit under a tree and just take a moment to recognize that we’re not in control of the universe, and that’s ok.
When you allow yourself to be humbled by nature, you open yourself up to experiences that will lead you to an altogether more connected & authentic path.
Mother Nature is pretty effective at putting us in our place and reminding us to have a little more perspective.
2. Be still
Modern life has us moving in so many directions, multi-tasking and striving to get ahead. Spending time in nature reminds us that some of our greatest thoughts and ideas come from a peaceful place.
By being still, we quiet the endless chatter in our mind and give ourselves permission to just ‘be.’ We focus on our breathing and our thoughts become clearer and more cohesive.
For me, spending some quiet time outside feels like someone has tidied up my mental filing cabinet.
For extra clarity, do some exercise outdoors..... find a quiet spot on the beach for yoga, go for a run in the forest. You’ll find that some of your most outstanding ideas have just been trapped amongst the noise and chaos of everyday life.
This quote from David Spangler pretty much says it all:
"The starting point for creativity is silence... the creative soil of silence, where can be found the seed-states of all things..."?
3. Be curious
Spending time in nature ignites our senses. It empowers us to pay attention. So often, in a busy day we walk around with such a narrow field of vision.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once asked :
“What would we do if the stars only came out once every thousand years? No one would sleep that night, of course… We would be ecstatic, delirious, made rapturous by the glory of God. Instead the stars come out every night, and we watch television.”
I absolutely love this. For me, this speaks volumes about today’s society. I don’t care whether you think that God created the stars, or the universe did... this is about the complexities of modern life. We’ve spent so much time, effort and money moving forwards, that we have forgotten the truly awesome gifts that the natural world has created on our doorstep.
Next time you’re outside, take notice. Challenge yourself to pay attention. Look with curious eyes. Appreciate the colour of the sky, notice how much a plant in your backyard has grown, or check out the beautiful pattern on a shell that you picked up at the beach.
Natures’ raw beauty is all around us, you’ve just got to make the conscious decision to tune in and appreciate it.
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