I've Got a Spa Date with the Creosote

The Healing Aspects of Nature

Those who follow me on social media know that I often post about my walks and hikes in nature and talk about the importance of spending regular time outdoors to soothe the mind and spirit.

But why is that? What is it about nature and the outdoors that heals us?

It’s said that Americans spend less than 10% of their time outdoors and over 90% inside, whether it be in their homes, at work, in more buildings, or driving in their cars.

This comes as no surprise, considering the advancement in technology that’s been keeping even the youngest of children inside, attached to their devices. And in recent years, the numbers have likely increased much more due to the pandemic.

As human beings, we evolved as a species out in nature. So, by us spending most of our waking hours indoors, without regular time outside, touching base with what’s primal to us, our physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing suffers.

When we’re in nature, witnessing the sights, sounds, and even the feel of the breeze against our skin, our nervous system is soothed, and cortisol and other stress hormones responsible for the body’s fight or flight response are reduced.

The calming, soothing sounds of nature alone can help the mind and body get into a balanced state. Nature’s fresh air purifies the lungs and energizes the mind and body.

When we’re regularly spending time in nature, our perspective changes. We become more aware and grateful and in awe. I find myself in a state of childlike wonder. Being outside just feels good.

Why is this?

The reason could be that when we’re out in nature, we have a more direct connection with the spirit. We’re in direct contact with the pure expression of creativity.

We experience the boundlessness, stillness, and serenity that is nature at its essence. We begin to mimic nature’s ability to adapt to change  the ebb and flow of life.

To reap these rewards, we need to make spending time outdoors a habit. Schedule it if you must. Plan a trip to a nearby park. If you live near the beach, make a plan to walk along the sand. If you live near the mountains or desert as I do, plan some regular hikes.

Take it all in...

When you’re there, listen.

Listen to the birds. Listen to the trees blowing in the breeze. If you’re at the beach, listen to the waves. From how far away can you hear the sounds of your environment? What is it that you hear?

Feel it.

Is it hot? Chilly? Notice the fresh breeze blowing against your skin. If you’re at the beach, what does the sand feel like between your toes? At the park, can you feel the leaves crunching under your feet? For me, it’s the dirt and rocks of the desert that follow my footsteps. Oh, and it’s usually hot.

Notice the sights and smells of your environment.

I’ll bet those of you living near the ocean take in the aroma of the fresh sea air. For me, it’s the desert creosote. There’s nothing like its distinct scent to remind me exactly where I am. If you live near the woods, you get to breathe in the magnificent bouquet of pine. I’m originally from the east coast, so whenever I catch the smell of some freshly cut grass in the breeze, I'm transported right back to my childhood, and its sweet perfume changes me.

So, what do you think? Will you make it a point to go outside and play?

Your body will thank you.

Your blood pressure will be lowered. Your lungs will breathe in fresh oxygen. Your immune system will be strengthened. You’ll sleep better.

Your mind will thank you.

Your attention will be improved. Your mood will be uplifted. You’ll benefit from less mental and emotional stress, including decreased anxiety levels.

Your spirit will thank you.

Your creativity will be heightened. You’ll find social interaction more enjoyable. You’ll feel happier and more aware of your innate gifts, and the many other gifts that surround you, which will foster a greater sense of gratitude. You’ll feel more whole, more you.

Please do make it a point to spend regular time in nature.  Mark it in your planner if you need to. Eventually, you’ll just do it... naturally.  And you will feel the difference. Just wait and see.

Well... I’m on my way out for a hike now. I’ve got a date with the creosote. It's over a hundred degrees out there right now, but a date's a date.

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