“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”
- John Muir
heed the call
When fall arrives, we breathe deep the crisp air and the fleeting orange glow. The world feels alive outside, and so do we. Each season has wonders of its own if we follow our natural urge to enjoy them. In fact, to have a healthy life—emotionally and physically—we need to be in nature. Connecting with it replenishes us. Yet for lots of reasons, many of us never actually make it out the door.
Nature calls to us when we’re on our retreats. Teens sometimes need a bit of convincing to get out the door. But then they remember. Their faces light up, tickled by memory, as they skip rocks across the water. And quiet walks down piney paths offer them calm. Almost immediately.
get your dose
Scientific studies from all over the world prove the deep and lasting benefits of spending time outside. Whether intentional or by chance, daily doses of nature can:
reduce stress and depression. People find relief from tension and stress in nature. It lowers levels of cortisol, which is our body’s main stress hormone.
increase awareness and focus. Any respite outdoors improves our cognitive functioning. Day-to-day life can exhaust our frontal cortex, and time in nature lets it take a break while we awaken other ways of thinking.
enjoy time with others. When we spend time outside with our friends and family. The spaciousness lends itself to more freedom and fun connection within our circles.
help our bodies stay healthy. The Japanese term Shinrin-yoku means “forest bathing.” It describes the form of forest therapy that uses breathing in clean air, in the woods, as an antidote to illness
out of doors
But your body already knows all of that. It longs to be in nature because we belong there. The next time you look out the window at the vibrant world outside, give yourself permission to go. Then absorb it all—the whisper of the air, the depth of color, the clean smell of life and decay. The door you open may open your mind and heart, too.