Do you ever find yourself yearning for a calm walk on a path shaded by trees above forming a canopy, while a soft wind blows by caressing your hair and you hum along to the tunes of “we fell in love in october” by girl in red? Well, that might sound too specific, but you get the general point stated here.
The innate need for proximity to nature when stressed out or in need of a break does not come from just following the basic idea that vacationing in the hills or on a secluded beach is so “trendy,” but also from the fact that these environments have a positive effect on our mental health too!
It is a known fact that the environment around us can help reduce or increase our stress and being in an environment that is blessed with the bounty of nature surely does lowering down stress levels. This common pattern of feeling relaxed in a natural setting regardless of age or culture, however, is not a coincidence.
Humans, over time, have found nature and natural elements calming. And when it comes to mental health benefits, nature has a lot under its umbrella. Not only do your stress levels come down several notches, but there is an increase in your attention span too. It isn’t necessary to go on top of a hill or sit by an abandoned beach to feel how much nature has to offer; taking a walk in the park or sitting on a bench in front of a rose garden can do the trick too. This simple walk in a park, however, has become even more crucial since the world was hit by this deadly pandemic. Even stepping a single foot outside the house was something you had to debate upon in your mind for at least three days before finally giving up on it. Research from various parts of the world shows a common factor — spending time outside has been one of the key factors in enabling people to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Being in nature not only makes us feel better emotionally and improves our mental wellbeing but is also a boon for our physical health. Reducing blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension are just a few of the many benefits nature has to offer. Since nature has a calming effect on our brain, looking at its scenic beauty can do wonders for us. So if you do care about your blood pressure not shooting up after you reach that certain age when these health issues are the elephant in the room, maybe start stepping out whenever you can!
Now that anyone who is reading this has some basic understanding of how nature is a complete blessing to us and our mental health, I would like to share my inspiration behind writing this specific piece. A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of getting away from the hectic schedule that can make anyone forget how to enjoy the little things in life and spend a few days in complete serenity among hills overflowing with trees. That one week of calmness made me realize that once in a while, just stopping to look at the way sunlight shines through trees, the way birds chirp early in the morning when returning home from their food hunt or the way a river glides over rocks and makes their surface smoother over time can actually make a difference to the way one perceives life. All of this might sound trivial compared to issues like mental health for a week-long vacation cannot exactly be a lifetime cure for them. That being said, the fact remains that something as mundane as a tree in a park has the ability to bring joy to someone’s life, just by existing, is something quite marvellous and irreplaceable.