Being out in nature is an incredible mood elevator – a truly natural high. Of course you already know this. It’s intuitive to connect with nature. But in our busy, high-tech world it’s nice to be reminded.
Connecting with nature includes the weather and as it warms up and the blossoms begin to burst forth, it’s easy to fall in love with nature. It’s a good time to practice biophilia. Biophilia is a term that refers to our natural “love of living things.” Norwegians refer to this practice as friluftsliv, or “free air life.” It’s a way of life spent exploring the natural world. The Japanese have a wonderful word for connecting with nature and the health benefits associated with it. They call it shinrin-yoku, which is loosely translated as “forest bathing.”
To increase benefit and joy while outside, tune in with all 5 senses. Run your hands along tree bark. Notice what you smell. How do the smells change as you move through the natural landscape?
Spending time in nature with children not only creates a connecting experience between you but has also shown to reduce anxiety and depression as well as issues with attention and focus.
One of my favorite activities with children outdoors is to create a “sound map.” We listen for all that we hear, near and far, and place a mark that is representative of that sound on a piece of paper. If the sound is close by, it goes near the center of the paper. If it’s off in the distance, it’s marked at the edge.
This can even happen on the way from the car to the restaurant. You may find yourself, and your kids, are more settled during the meal.
Get out near moving water if you can, because negative ions are positive. Remember the feeling being near a waterfall or flowing river? It’s mesmerizing. It is in part to due with the beautiful scene and also due to the increased oxygen in the brain from a higher negative ion count near moving water, air and sunlight.
Another reason being in nature is so rejuvenating is that everything is in harmony. Trees are being trees without fretting about the shape of their leaves or how near they are to the other trees. Worms just plow the earth. Birds fly and never wish to do otherwise. It’s refreshing to be around all the flora and fauna that is simply Being. It inspires us to do the same.