“Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”
—John Muir, Our National Parks
Ever since moving to the Pacific Northwest I have found myself totally in love with the freedom that nature can bring. I am a complete city girl but with all this nature abound I have discovered one of the most therapeutic activities that I can gift myself. Walking in nature. John Muir said it perfectly, ” …cares will drop off like autumn leaves”. A cluster of trees standing tall brings me peace of mind. The mindfulness required while walking allows the mind to quiet or just a silent moment of observation engages the senses.
The deep appreciation of nature is not anything new but the realization that the health benefits are tangible and immediate is something that we are learning more about every day. Japan has been studying the effects of Shinrin Yoku or Forest Bathing and proving the medical importance of re-establishing a close relationship with nature for medicinal purposes. Their studies have proven that walking amongst natures giants have both physiological and psychological benefits. It decreases blood pressure, reduces cortisol production, the “stress hormone”, and increases parasympathetic nerve activity, that’s the part of the nervous system that helps stimulate digestion and that helps us relax. If that wasn’t enough, other studies claim that the phytoncides, which are the essential oils trees and plants release to protect themselves from germs and certain insects, could very well increase our white blood cell counts giving our immune system a boost as well as a host of other benefits.
Make some time to drive to the nearest National Park where you can soak in all the goodness nature has to offer because there is nothing to feed your soul like being in awe of all the beauty our planet has to offer. Standing in front of a mountain range that just simply takes your breath away or watching a bird going about its business singing its sweet melody could very well gift you a mind calm and free of worry and a full heart.
“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. —”
― Florence Williams, The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative