It will come as no surprise that we as humans are spending more time than ever before indoors, glued to screens, away from our natural surroundings. This is especially true of our children. There are many health, mental, and emotional risks associated with this change in our lifestyle. We see it everyday in the news, and perhaps in our communities, people are suffering from this unnatural separation. But there is an easy fix for this, and, it’s readily available, free, and deeply nourishing.
You may recognize this wonderful phenomenon in your life.: Have you ever gazed up at a sunset that took your breath away? In that moment, worries, anxieties, obsessive thoughts and often even low-level pain seems to dissolve on the spot. Why? It’s a moment of connection and appreciation with something much larger than you- the sky! And with this bigger view, sweating the small stuff feels, well, small.
Have you ever been in a heated argument with someone, and stepped outside to get some space, and suddenly felt much better? Fresh air, blue sky, flora and fauna, all offer us a deep sense of nourishment, contentment, and even support.
The relaxation and peace that being outside offers our mind is remarkable. Can you remember the last time you gazed out on a vista, mountain range or ocean? It’s a sense of ahhhh. And more than this, nature is proven to actually heal our bodies! Have you heard of the “earthing” trend otherwise known as standing bare feet on the ground as our ancestors have done since the beginning of time?
“Research is emerging in some of the most surprising places, indicating that there’s more to “earthing” or “grounding” than meets the eye. Because the Earth carries an electron-rich, negative charge, it provides a powerful and abundant supply of antioxidant electrons that effectively zap free radicals.
When your bare feet come into contact with the ground, you absorb large amounts of negative electrons through your soles that’s sufficient enough to maintain your body at the same negatively charged electrical potential as the Earth. In this way, your contact with nature is more than emotional or spiritual, although it can be those things; coming into close physical contact with the Earth — the essence of nature — is also physiological. It brings healing in ways that are quantifiable.” Check this out to learn more!
A study done by James Oschman Ph.D. has listed the following as benefits of earthing:
- Improved sleep
- More rapid wound healing
- Reduced stress
- Reduced pain
- Reduced blood viscosity
- Reduced inflammation
All this, by simply standing barefoot on the ground. Not bad. And if there happens to be a tree around, you’re in luck. “Studies have found that invisible chemicals (called phytoncides) in some trees can reduce stress hormones, lower anxiety, and improve blood pressure and immunity.” How often have you complained about feeling exhausted, or not sleeping well? “As you know, being outdoors provides you with the benefits of getting natural sunlight, giving you much needed vitamin D and natural stabilization of melatonin levels, which are offset when you spend a lot of time with the screen.”
Studies all over the world have even shown that people living in closer proximity to nature, are happier! Hospital patients who have outdoor time, or hospitals with indoor gardens and abundant plant life, actually heal faster! So now that we have scientific proof of what we as humans, as mammals, have really always known, how you can take advantage of the healing power of nature? It’s simple, go outside! And instead of conquering nature with an uphill hike, or long bike ride or run, just BE in nature. Surrender to nature. Find a beautiful tree, plant your feet in its roots, and hang out. Lean against the tree, feel its support, its strength behind you. Go for a lazy, slow walk, like a toddler, where you stop and marvel at every surprise along the way. Watch the ants do their thing, listen to the variety of bird calls, feel the softness of the grass and the roughness of the dirt. Get your ass in the grass, lay down, enjoy the spectacle of sky called cloud gazing. There is no movie, tv show or instagram feed more fulfilling than watching the dissolving, shape-shifting, lazy journey of clouds across the sky. What if you have to be indoors for long hours working? Take breaks where you glance up from your screen and bathe in the view outside your window. Gaze at a tree, leaf, or patch of sky. If you have no windows, take a moment to step outside and deeply inhale and exhale. Sometimes that’s all it takes to reset ourselves.