In the search for healing modalities, one of the best, easiest, and most rewarding things that you can do is to go outside. Being in nature is a healing and renewing experience. While it can be wonderful to take an extended vacation in an exotic locale, it is not necessary to enjoy the myriad gifts that nature affords. Simply spending time outside in a garden, walking in the neighborhood, or visiting a park can increase your vitality, energy, and mood.
Studies have shown that being outdoors makes it easier to exercise. Even seeing the color green increases your exercise experience, allowing you to work out and feel less exertion and increased mood function. Plus, you're breathing fresh air and even a short time in the sun facilitates your body in creating vitamin D, which is a necessary nutrient and which is difficult to process through diet alone. As if this weren't enough, at higher elevations, such as the mountains, your metabolism naturally revs up and your appetite diminishes.
People who spent time outdoors have been shown to have decreased levels of stress. As stress is a major deterrent to experiencing vibrantly good health, this alone makes it worthwhile to cultivate a habit of spending time in nature. There are many reasons for this, among them the theory that things that are good for us are naturally pleasurable as a built-in reward mechanism. From offering food and shade and shelter, trees were good for our ancestors and we find ourselves drawn to them today.
Others posit that being in a natural setting is a form of aromatherapy, with the scents of flowers, from roses to jasmine, and plants such as lavender and rosemary, and trees such as pine and cedar giving an energy and spirit-boosting infusion of feel-good scents, and the sense of scent is closely linked with the emotional center in the brain.
There are also the added benefits of being unplugged from the electronic devices, from the constant bombardment of world-wide bad news to the manufactured stimuli of social media, which studies have shown can bring down your mood. For these reasons, being outdoors, especially in a space of beauty, quiet, peace, and greenery, with a built-in excuse to exercise or an invitation to sit in quiet meditation, can be a form of wilderness therapy.
Many people find that being in a space free from distractions, noise, and crowds can lead to an increase in creativity. Perhaps its the increase in endorphins from being in a spot of peace and beauty, maybe it is the novelty of the environment, but studies have shown that being in a natural setting is an excellent environment to get in touch with your thoughts and emotions, which in turn can lead to an increase in intuitive understanding, relaxation and ease, and enhanced creativity.
Some people enjoy being near a body of running water, and there are studies to back the benefits of negative ions being an asset to your mood and creativity. Perhaps the silence allows you the time and space to listen to your inner wisdom. Perhaps exercising is creating an opportunity to heal your body as your thoughts move in tandem with your muscles. It could be that you naturally respond to your environment by breathing correctly from the diaphragm. Then again, there are those who find that beauty is a fulcrum upon which their own creativity turns.
Enjoy the many benefits of the great outdoors to tune in to your own mind, body, and spirit's wisdom and to allow yourself the gift of recharging, naturally.