Not everyone feels upbeat now that spring is here. Some of us have become so used to our winter routine – eating heavy carbo-rich food and whiling away long evenings on the couch in front of the TV – that it is hard to break free of this pattern. Getting out in nature together with friends or family may be just what you need, especially if you suffer from a bout of depression. However, should your depression continue or become worse, it’s best to see a professional.
It’s time to turn off your computer and connect with nature, friends and family! This is your daily healing dose.
Friends and families seem to have less and less time to connect to each other because of their busy lives. Children spend very little time outdoors, spending it instead in front of screens at home and at school.
As our economy and our culture become more and more global, so does our need for connection to nature and to each other. Grab your children, grandchildren, friends and neighbours and go outside on an adventure together.
Studies reveal that children are healthier, happier and perhaps even smarter and more creative when they’ve a connection to nature. Nature has positive effects on children with attention deficit disorder, asthma, depression and obesity, and being in nature relieves stress and improves physical health. Adults who work in spaces incorporating nature are more productive, healthy and creative; hospital patients with a view of nature from their window heal faster; and exposure to the natural environment leads people to nurture close relationships with fellow human beings, value community and be more generous with money. Connecting to nature also improves your memory, helps you recuperate and even sharpens your sense of smell!
Find small openings for nature every day – it may be a little piece of moss in a crack on the pavement or a tree you’ve never noticed before. Take children fishing and hiking, build a bird feeder or go bird watching, walk in the park, ride a bike, set up a community garden, have a picnic, or exercise outdoors.
Cloud-watching clears the mind and brings calm to all your senses. Try it in the evening when sunset paints the clouds with pink and orange, on sunny days with a buzzing soundtrack of insects, or on a stormy day when you can watch 10 shades of grey roll past in just a few minutes.
By spending time with the dog, gardening, camping, beach combing, making nature themed art, smelling the rain; learning the names of plants, tracking the phases of the moon or learning bird calls, screens and cell phones will be turned off and your friends and family will naturally form a connection to the nature that surrounds them. They’ll talk to each other and form deeper personal connections based on uninterrupted interactions of genuine attention. They may go back to their busy lives and nearly constant screens, but they’ll have a shared memory of their time together; their mood will have improved, their anxiety will have been soothed and their minds will have been hushed.
Louv, Richard. Last child in the woods: Saving our children from nature-deficit disorder. 2008