Connect With Nature For Better Health

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.  

While healthy eating is an important component to minimize risk of disease, and maintain health and vibrancy as we age, being barefoot on the Earth herself ~ what some call Earthing, or Grounding ~ may be just as important.

Connect with nature for better mental and physical healthTrees along the Chicago lakefront. Photo courtesy & copyright of Barbara Pederson

The authors of Earthing, The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? write, "Our investigations strongly suggest that the incidence of soaring chronic diseases during our lifetimes has occurred during a period in which more and more people have become increasingly disconnected from the Earth."

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.

When we live more mindfully ~ paying attention to our physical health and not just the willful ego ~ we remain more present, and experience greater calm and ease in our lives.

Taking time to connect with nature while tuning inwards to simply check in with how we are feeling can help us reduce anxiety, and better manage stress, or difficult emotions as well.

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.  

(Learn more about Earthing, here.)

While I find it hard to believe that we need science to remind us to connect with nature, the studies can be of great value when applied to helping us create more healing and restorative environments.

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..." 

Studies have shown that patients in healthcare settings heal quicker when they have a view of nature, are next to a garden, and are surrounded by peaceful nature sounds.  Even pictures of nature can have a beneficial impact.  

There is no doubt as to the importance of getting outdoors to connect with Nature, for our mental, emotional, and physical sense of wellbeing.

In Health Impacts of Healing Environments ~ A review of evidence for benefits of nature, daylight, fresh air, and quiet in a healthcare settingAgnes 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.  

Chicago shoreline photo by Barbara Pederson

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:

  • greater attention and cognitive functioning
  • better wellbeing
  • quicker recovery rates
  • less stress, whether work-related, or among prisoners and those recovering in hospitals
  • fewer head aches
  • better moods
  • less mental fatigue

Getting outdoors to connect with nature is medicinal to our physical and mental/emotional health ~ as important as eating a healthy diet, fitness training, engaging in recreational activities that lift our spirits, and connecting with friends, family and fellow members of our community or extended tribe.  

Our technology enables us to stay up all night with the flick of a switch, but our physiology has evolved to live in harmony with the daily and seasonal rhythms of Nature.  

We still require this connection with Nature, yet many do not realize just how much a lack of connecting is impacting their mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing, along with their physical health.


Why wait for a scientific study to remind you that you are part of Nature, and require time outdoors to ground, and attune your energy as part of 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. 

More Ways to Connect with Nature

  • In addition to connecting with nature outdoors,  bring elements of nature indoors.  Create art out of found materials.

  • Decorate in earthy colors that instill a sense of being outdoors.  Use non-toxic plaster paints on your walls.  Use natural materials and fabrics with earthy elements.

  • Arrange smooth found rocks near electronic devices to balance the fiery nature of electricity with the earthy feel of the rocks.  

  • Arrange rocks in a nice bowl, or planter pot, add fresh water, and place under a plant, or somewhere near your bed (where you won't accidentally spill it) to help humidify the air.  Every now and then, empty, rinse, and refill.

  • Invest in some nice photography or art, or enlarge your own photos taken outdoors ~ either while on a  beautiful hike, or close ups of colorful leaves, flowers, trees, old barns, or anything that catches your eye ~  and hang them up as a source of natural inspiration.

  • Make living in a beautiful setting with at least a small patio or yard a priority to the best of your ability.

  • If living in an urban area is necessary, find spaces to create a garden ~ on a roof top, window sill, or balcony.

Find balance & harmonize your energy! Rocks are natural transmuters & absorbers of lower vibrational energies.
Cats are also natural harmonizers! They always find the warm spots!

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, or over working, 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 Self-Empowerment 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.

Whether your 'Point B' is 20 pounds lighter, or having your dream partner, home, or profession ~ these steps will help you get there with as much ease as possible, while helping you overcome the obstacles that arise when we reach for more.

Read more.

Feeling stuck, imbalanced, overly sensitive and emotional, or out of sorts?  You may enjoy an Energy Clearing & Re-Harmonizing Session, available remotely, from the comfort of your own home.

Read More.

Whether you live in an urban area or not, find a way to connect with nature ~ your health depends upon it in more ways than you know!  

We may have 'evolved' to being urban dwellers, but our true home and source of sustenance and connection has always been with the land, the forests  ~ Nature  ~ our precious earth.

Working the land with natural permaculture methods, or raising animals to be more self-reliant, and pro-active about your food source is probably the best way to connect with nature ~ daily ~ as our ancestors once did.

Early sun exposure and connecting with nature is vitally  important to our healthEarly sun exposure is free of the harmful UV rays, and can help us recharge, and improve our moods and sleep.

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