Since ancient times, being one with the bees and the trees has been known to be a supportive way of life — flowing with natural environments around us as if they were a part of our own bodies. Our ancestors would chart the stars and pay close attention to nature’s rhythms and mysteries, knowing that our natural surroundings can have a major impact on our ability to live freely and successfully. Now, many of us commonly live in urban environments, and some of us are completely detached from the natural world entirely.
Modern technology rests at our fingertips, and we have less of a need to pay close attention to our natural settings as they seem to exist far, far away. While this modern way of life seems like second nature now, the truth is that we still rely on the natural elements to survive, and we’re not truly meant to live so separately from the natural world. When you miss out on nature walks, you miss out on the benefits of nature walks and and the major perk of living here on earth.
“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.”—Joseph Campbell
Your Guide to Nature Walks
Nature walks are a way to embrace your natural environment without too much effort necessary. You don’t need fancy equipment, camping expertise, or a well-developed knowledge of every plant and animal in your vicinity in order to make this activity a worthwhile one.
You only need yourself, an open mind — and perhaps for your phone to be set to silent. Nature walks are about allowing your mind, body, and spirit to sync up with the natural environment. You’re not just walking in nature, but aligning yourself with it too.
And don’t fret! Even if you don’t have readily available access to a luscious cedar forest trail or a local river to peruse, even the fresh air in a local park can help you achieve some of the many benefits of nature walks.
So, what are the benefits of nature walks?
Did you know that breathing fresh air isn’t just good for the lungs, but also the mind?
It’s true: being out and about in the natural environments near you can decrease your stress levels, slowing down the production of stress hormones.
Most researchers concluded that green spaces (like parks and forests) could have this unique soothing effect. Plus, being out in nature, especially from a young age, reduces the risk of developing other mental health issues, such as major depressive disorder.
The hypothesis for this mysterious connection? It’s likely thanks to our ancestors who relied heavily on nature’s rhythms for survival, and so we, too, now find natural comfort in spending time in nature.
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”—Lao Tzu
You may have guessed that there are physical health benefits of nature walks too, but the link between physical well-being and nature is stronger than you may know.
Research points across multiple studies all resoundingly agree that nature can have an impact on anything from reducing blood pressure to lowering our heart rates to potentially prolonging our lifespans.
Plus, researchers concluded that it may also help accelerate the healing process after surgeries or illness. So, nature may not just help you prevent health issues, but can be a restorative agent as well.
So yes, nature really is that powerful of an ingredient in our lives!
When you align with nature fully, you may find your spiritual practice, connection, and divine perspective easier to access. And no, it’s not just a coincidence.
Nature is a clear, uninterrupted conduit between you and the Universe. Think of your communication with your intuition, spirituality, and divine flow as using a telephone. Nature is a telephone line that doesn’t get bogged down with human technology or chaos. So, our vibration runs higher when we allow ourselves to sit in nature’s pure flow.
Here’s a few ways you can keep cultivating your spiritual connection through nature:
- Meditate during your nature walks
- Offer gratitude to the trees, animals, plants, etc. that you pass by
- Pick up trash and keep your environment clean to keep your “telephone line” clean
- Sit or lay down in your local natural spaces
We already know now that nature can have positive effects on our mental health. But it can also improve your cognitive functioning in general.
What does this mean?
Research points to nature’s ability to restore our energy levels quicker when we’re fatigued, making it easier to think clearly and more effectively. In other words, spending time in nature isn’t just leisure. It can also help you work more productively in the future!
A major part of our lives is actually spent sleeping. We aren’t meant to be awake and alert 24/7. Like the moon cycles, we go through ebbs and flows and have times where flipping the body’s “off switch” is extremely important.
Unfortunately, many people today are especially prone to insomnia, worsening throughout recent years as the influx of screens and technology has invaded our homes and daily routines.
And unsurprisingly, nature is a simple remedy to this issue too. Benefits of nature walks also include improved sleep, helping you get the rest you need in order to be more present in every other area of your life.
Last but not least, nature strengthens our awareness of the here and now.
With the phones turned off and the mind “unplugged” from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day work life, we’re able to center ourselves more easily on what exists right in front of us — a green space, an open sky, and our breath.
You may not have a great connection with the great outdoors right off the bat, but you don’t have to, because your body has an innate connection with nature on its own.
When you take the first step into a couple of short, simple nature walks every week, you may find that it’s easier — and more natural — than it seems to be taking in that fresh air.
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