Written by Takingchances
It is an undisputed fact that you feel better after spending time in nature. Studies have shown multiple benefits from being in, and interacting with nature, and health organizations are embracing this information and integrating natural spaces into ecotherapies. Spending time in nature reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and enhances moods. However, the enlightened energy of a nature-high oftentimes quickly dissipates when we return to the city and our daily routine. Here we share with you ways to help maintain the positive energy long after you’ve left the scenery behind.
BRINGING NATURE INDOORS
It can be hard to recreate natural surroundings inside a room of concrete, but having indoor plants can go a long way towards softening the atmosphere while adding a little fresh air. Not only do plants filter out airborne toxins, but their very presence uplifts our spirits and provides a way for us to connect with nature. Tending to plants can be therapeutic as it gives us an escape from our technology-driven world and allows us to concentrate on something beautiful, living, and healthy, bringing us some peace of mind as we spend just a moment or two in the here and now. Watering, pruning, and polishing leaves allows us to touch something natural, which is becoming more rare in our urban world of man-made amenities. There are many types of plants, some requiring more attention than others. For those who don’t possess green thumbs, we suggest succulents, cactuses, orchids, begonias, and peace lilies (but be careful if you have kittys! They’re toxic for our little fur balls). These plants are easy to nurture and only require watering once a week.
Calming the mind is challenging when you have fast-approaching deadlines, endless to-do lists, non-stop traffic outside your window, and friends and family who want your attention. In fact, this is when meditation is most helpful. Meditation helps reduce stress, alleviate anxiety, restore attention capacity, and it helps you to foster compassion. While the goal of meditation is to clear one’s mind of needless distractions, it is a perfect opportunity to recapture that post-nature high. This technique is often used in guided meditations, or visualisation therapy, and is endorsed by the Mayo Clinic and more than 6,000 healthcare facilities. Just by focusing your thoughts on your favorite natural spot, and imagining the sounds, smells, and sensations there, you can transport your mind to a place of natural beauty.
Use the image of a beach at sunset, a waterfall into a clear blue pond, or majestic mountains covered in trees and capped with snow-white peaks to focus your mind and slow your breathing rhythm to help induce a sense of calm tranquility. By using your favorite natural images to control and guide your thoughts into a state of peace, you can maintain the post-nature-high over and over again.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Ok, yes, we’ve also heard that a thousands times. But phrases that rise to ‘cliche status’ do so because they hold an element of truth. Not only are pictures worth a thousand words, but also thousands of thoughts and feelings, and they allow you to revisit nature anytime you like, albeit virtually.
In today’s high-tech world, everyone has a cell phone and unless you’re still carrying around an old flip-phone from the turn of the century, then your phone has a camera too. The beautiful thing about the cell-phone camera is that it allows you to take hundreds of pictures that are immediately available for your preview–no waiting a week for the film to be processed, printed, and delivered. So, take some pictures, then take some more. Take as many pictures as you want of that sunrise, ocean, mountain, lake, or whatever captivates you and shifts your energy. Pick out a half-dozen of your favorites and print them out large. Plaster the walls of your home, bedroom, and office with images of your favorite spots. As you go through your day, they will provide you a constant reminder of the moments you had communing with nature. And the best part, you can carry that portfolio of nature scenes wherever you go, allowing you to keep the post-nature high as close as your pocketbook, backpack, or back pocket.
There are many ways to maintain the post-nature-high that we all seek to experience. We hope these options offer opportunities to break from the chaos of your busy schedule and allow time for your imagination to play. It’s necessary to periodically detach yourself from your work and obligations in order to relax, refocus, and replenish yourself. It is an investment that will greatly enhance your productivity and nurture your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health.