7 Reasons We Need More Nature in Our Lives
In a time when technology is king, most of us don’t realize what we’re missing if we’re not spending a significant portion of our time outdoors in nature. But, many of us would greatly benefit by reacquainting ourselves with The Great Outdoors again. And that’s why, in this article, we’re going to look at 7 reasons we need more nature in our lives.
Nature relaxes us
We need more nature in our lives because it helps us relax, de-stress and reduce our anxiety and depression.
For example, people who live closer to the beach were found to be more relaxed as they spent time looking at waves. In the article, How the Beach Benefits Your Brain, Anne Gherini says the beach is relaxing because:
- the rhythmic waves subliminally tell us to relax as their regularity signals non-threats
- the color blue has been shown to produce a sense of calmness in people
- staring at the ocean puts us in a meditative mood as our brainwaves are changed and
- the negative ions in sea air can help calm your brain.
And that’s just the beach we’re talking about!
The same thing goes for looking at green landscapes. If you haven’t tried it for a while, find yourself a nice view with a few paddocks and some sheep and see if you won’t be calmer by looking at it for a few minutes.
Nature helps us to be selfless
Nature often helps us be more selfless as we forget about ourselves and our woes and, instead, focus on the pets or plants that depend on us for their survival.
When I was young, my parents bought many pets for me. I loved these animals, but along with the joy of owning rabbits, dogs, mice and chickens, I had to look after them and care for them.
This helped develop a responsible and caring nature as I focused on the animals who needed me to care for them.
I’m so glad I learned this lesson, as I’m a much happier person because I’m not as selfish as I used to be. A wise man once said, ‘It is better to give than to receive,’ and this has always rung true with me.
Nature helps reduce our sedentary lifestyles
When we spend reams of time indoors, we can tend to live a very sedentary lifestyle. Our muscles get sore and we get stiff.
On the other hand, if you go outdoors, it almost seems like nature beckons you and propels you to move and engage with her.
In this way, nature helps reduce our sedentary lifestyles and helps us become more active. A more active lifestyle brings a host of health benefits for us, besides removing the sore and stiff feelings we have in our bodies.
Why not join a gym? Green exercise (that is exercising in nature) was found to promote health more than just gym exercise might alone.
Nature can teach us in ways that schools can’t
When I went to school, I used to long to be outdoors when things were fresher, and the sun could shine on my face.
When my parents withdrew me from school to homeschool me, I was so grateful as we only had to do a couple of hours of formal homework a day, and then we could spend a good chunk of our free time out in nature! I found this a massive advantage of homeschooling!
(This is also why I’m going to use the Charlotte Mason homeschooling method to teach my children at home – it’s a homeschooling method that respects and engages with nature more than almost all other educational programs.)
Nature is good for our eyesight
While it seems like an insignificant point, studies show that many young children who spend too long studying books develop short-sightedness. This is because they focus on short distances for long periods of time. The article says:
Raymond Moore said, "The eyes of most children are permanently damaged before age 12." We see this damage clearly among the Asian population. 90% of Asian children are near-sighted and must wear glasses following too much time studying indoors from an early age.
However, this doesn’t happen if children spend most of their time looking at different objects at different distances. Of course, children get this variety in nature!
Nature can help boost our creativity and academic scores
We need more nature in our lives because it refreshes us and helps us focus. In the article, Studying outdoors can boost your brain power, the author talked about how nature can boost our creativity:
Recently, a study followed 56 participants on a 4-day hike. Half of the hikers were given a creativity test before the hike, while the other half took the test straight after their hike. As it turns out, those who took the test after four days of trekking scored 50% higher than those in the first group. The findings of this study show that being outdoors can help people to be more creative in problem solving.
Maybe this is the reason homeschoolers seem to outperform many school students on standardized tests. That is, they’re probably no smarter, but they have more time in nature which seems to improve their well-being and creative sides.
Nature points to something bigger in life
If you’ve ever stood on the precipice of a cliff that goes down for hundreds of meters, you’ll know what it feels like to feel small. Nature has a way of gripping our hearts with a sense of where we truly belong in life. We begin to realize life is more than me and myself. And in today’s culture, that’s what we desperately need.
Nature has many ways of improving our way of life, and that’s why we need more of it. In a day when we’re addicted to technology, we’ve forgotten the manifold blessings that nature gives to everyone who engages with it. Those who choose to take up the offer of these blessings will find their lives truly enriched!
Author BioRebbecca Devitt is the author of Why on Earth Homeschool: The Case for Christian Homeschooling. She’s the wife of a husband who is her best friend and makes her laugh and a son who is too cute for words. She’s dabbled in Nursing, Medical Science, Medicine and Law before settling down to her dream job—being a full-time mother! The family live in Wollongong and actively participate in their wonderful church, Wollongong Baptist Church. Rebbecca has written for various blogs including The Gospel Coalition and her own Christian homeschooling website, How Do I Homeschool. As you can guess, her passion lies in helping people to homeschool well.
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