To connect with nature is a profoundly important requirement for human health. It's one of my top healthy living tips.
More and more studies exist that have identified several ways in which we are positively influenced by being in natural and peaceful surroundings, and getting adequate fresh air and sunshine.
I know personally, I ALWAYS feel more centered and at peace when I spend time outdoors, especially among the trees. Trees have always felt like friends to me, providing solace at times when I was younger, and felt alone.
To connect with nature is the ultimate prescription to replenish our often weary spirits.
As the authors of Earthing discuss, grounding can reduce inflammation and stress, improve sleep, and relieve pain. Many people who have been using the Earthing pads, sheets, patches, or throw covers, have experienced healing of varied conditions that other standard and alternative treatments were not able to resolve.
To connect with nature stirs us at a cellular ~ and soul level ~ especially when the soles of our feet are touching the ground.
When it is really impossible to get outdoors on a regular basis, a guided visualization can help with grounding as well. Be sure to look for our upcoming guided healing meditation audio files.
Getting out as close to sunrise as possible, when the grass is still dewey, is one of the best times to connect with nature. You get the hormonal balancing health benefits of the early sun, which can increase the release of serotonin ~ a mood boosting hormone that promotes a calm, focused energy, reduces depression and anxiety, and has been shown in studies to help improve fertility, and weight regulation, in addition to the many healing benefits from grounding with the earth.
According to an article published in the US National Library of Medicine on behavioral sciences, "Physical settings can play a role in coping with stress; in particular experimental research has found strong evidence between exposure to natural environments and recovery from physiological stress and mental fatigue....Natural environments elicit greater calming responses than urban environments....Exposure to natural scenes mediates the negative effects of stress reducing the negative mood state and above all enhancing positive emotions."
He goes on to say that "one can recover (from) the decrease of cognitive performance associated with stress, especially reflected in attention tasks..."
In Health Impacts of Healing Environments ~ A review of evidence for benefits of nature, daylight, fresh air, and quiet in a healthcare setting, Agnes van den Berg writes, "knowledge of this was once widely applied as evidenced by the various healing centers that have been created in earlier times, tracing back to the Asclepieia in ancient Greece."
The Asclepieia is considered the first healing center of Europe. It was built as a temple dedicated to Asclepius, the god of health and healing.
They understood the power of nature to heal, especially being near a water element, favoring wooded locations near natural hot or cold springs as the best sites for healing.
Studies have been conducted on children at schools, in prisons, hospitals and the work place.
Those that were able to spend time outdoors (such as school kids) or had window views of nature showed many benefits including:
We require time outdoors to ground, and attune our energy as part of regular self-care. Being in healing and restorative environments helps us minimize stress, recover from illness quicker, and improve our moods.
Since stress is a leading cause and risk factor in so many health conditions, this is huge!
I believe when we attune with nature, and experience the connectedness of all life, it leaves an imprint on our neurochemistry ~ and our soul.
Anytime you are under stress, take a 5 minute mental break, and imagine you are outdoors in a beautiful setting. Better yet, get outside if you can, take your shoes off and get grounded!
Your nervous system will respond to your thoughts. It will help you begin to relax.
When under stress, the fight-or-flight response kicks in, producing hormones like epinephrine and norepinephrine, causing an entire cascade of chemical reactions, including less blood being pumped into the vital organs, more being pumped into your limbs, and a shutting down of the higher brain centers.
Over time, the effects of operating under constant fight or flight will take a toll, on your adrenals, and cognitive functioning.
The amount of time invested in taking a few moments to at least imagine being in a natural setting can pay huge dividends. Think of it as hitting the reset button. Your mind will be more clear and focused when you return back to your work activities, and you may feel more productive.
For more tips and guided meditations, you may enjoy The Strong Spirit 10-Step Plan ~ Your MAP to Consciously & Effectively Create Your Most Illuminated Life. It's a ten-step guide to help you get from Point A, where you are, to Point B, where you desire to be.
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