Depression is often described as not caring about anything or anyone — and not caring that you don't care. It's a pretty accurate non-medical definition. If we use it as our measure, most of us are not depressed, but we definitely have times when we feel distressed, upset, blasé, or just plain down. It's not easy to avoid stress or escape crises worry free, so here's a healthy way to gain perspective and balance.
New research documents that being outside under the sky has incredible calming and healing powers. A walk in the woods or a stroll around a lake can reduce blood pressure; regulate heart rate; ease tension, and more. It can even boost immunity. The beauty of flowers lifts our spirits. Listening to singing birds or chirping crickets is as healing as deep meditation.
Taking time to be outside whether at a park, the beach, the mountains, or in the woods can help us live longer and enhance the quality of our years. Apparently we don’t even have to hike or do anything that feels like exercise. All we need do is step outside and take time with our thoughts, the sun, and the breeze.
The healing power of nature has a Latin name, "Vis Medicatrix Naturae." It means an internal healing response designed to restore health. We’re genetically programmed to be soothed by the beauty of sunrises and sunsets, blue skies, moving cloud formations, twinkling stars, and the feeling of the earth under our feet. When we're close to the ocean, the combination of sea and sand is natural therapy — with only positive side effects. As we move outside, inhale fresh air, and give our full attention to nature, physical and emotional pain lessens.
It's worth exploring this natural option. Even a few minutes under the sky will:
- Improve focus
- Boost creativity
- Shift moodiness
- Increase self-esteem
- Lessen pain
- Enhance sleep.
I’ve begun to take my breakfast beverage outside to enjoy the fresh morning air and drink in the beauty of summer as it unfolds.
Sitting, standing, or moving, communing with nature is a magical way to renew and recharge — and there's nothing to lose but stress.
Sources: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH), fractalenlightenment.org, patriotthealthalliance.com, BioPsychoSocialMedicine.com