The Healing Power of Nature

Human beings are more stressed out than ever. From economic issues to terrorism, we all feel it because we’re all connected through energy (proven by quantum mechanics). Getting out in nature, if only for a short while, resets a primal switch that many of us forget we have.

Ever wake up depressed or anxious for no apparent reason and then find out there was a tragedy somewhere? Did you ever connect the two? Whether you believe the idea of “global connectedness” or not, the reality is that more people are being medicated (or self-medicating) than ever before. The trend will continue and increase according to many experts.

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A simple walk in nature has been proven to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. People that spend time in nature have a better feeling of well-being and usually stay healthier than people who don’t. We have been taught that we are separate from nature and often forget that nature is exactly what we are. The belief of “separateness” slowly chisels away at us, even though most of us don’t notice until it’s too late.

In a 2013 study, researchers at the University of Essex found that walking in nature reduced depression in 71 percent of participants while those who walked in malls only had a 45 percent rate of decrease and 22 percent said the mall actually made them more depressed.

There are a lot of fancy psychological terms that describe how connecting with nature affects the brain and body but none of that is important. My extensive experience working and teaching in nature tells me all I need to know; that nature automatically knows how to fix things. Call it “the force” or whatever you want, harmony is always the result of adversity (unless humans get involved). It’s the way it’s always worked.

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Think of all the natural disasters that have occurred over the 4.54 billion years. Is it coincidence that nature continued to thrive? Not likely! One of the things I tell my students when we’re out in the woods is to let go of the notion that there’s anything to do except pay attention to what’s happening around them. Awareness is the first step.

Simply becoming aware to how nature operates (without trying to figure it out) starts to suck us into the flow. Soon it becomes very apparent that we’re the ones out of sync. In my experience, the longer I stay with nature, the more “in tune” I become with the core of what I am (just another life-form on the planet). Somehow, it just happens. Ever hear about how all pendulum clocks eventually sync? You can too!

The problem with humans is that we think too much. We’re constantly surrounded by things to think about — traffic, cell phone, lamp, chair, and all the rest of our stuff. When we get away from all that “stuff,” and let go of the idea that we need to do anything except just be, all of a sudden we find ourselves where we are… right here in the midst of pure unexplainable intelligence.

Park the car, get out, mute the cell phone and just walk out into nature. Be 100 percent present with everything. Look, listen, smell and feel. I guarantee you something will happen that will make you feel better. Then, repeat as often as you can—that’s all there is.