Hike, bike, or paint en plein air – there are many ways to enjoy nature and get great wellness benefits at the same time. The enjoyment and beauty of the wilderness is always top of mind for outdoor enthusiasts, but the truth is that the connection between nature and wellness is much more deeply rooted than simple pleasure alone.
Mental, spiritual, and physical benefits abound in nature – that is, when you find the right activity for you. Not all of us are destined to answer the call of the wild, and that’s okay! The good news is that there’s no prerequisite for reaping the rewards of nature.
So lather up your sunscreen and put on your adventure cap. When you integrate nature into your wellness journey, you can find wellness in all areas.
Nature’s Gift: Physical Wellbeing
Getting out in nature can improve many physical qualities. Fresh air, for one, is fantastic for respiratory health. Exposure to natural sunlight is another great gift of being outside, supporting sufficient serotonin levels and providing a boost of vitamin D. In addition, more challenging outdoor activities – like hiking, kayaking or swimming – can help exercise forgotten muscles, strengthen the core, and improve cardiovascular health.
Refresh, Reset in Nature: Emotional Wellbeing
Mental and emotional wellbeing can also be enhanced by forming a relationship with nature. On one day, it may be a peaceful, solitary walk to blow off steam and calm down after an argument. The next, it may be time to marvel at flora and fauna, taking your mind off career responsibilities and establishing a good work-life balance. Nature provides a mindful break from the ordinary, which can be used to restore one’s emotional wellbeing and practice positive mental health habits.
Reflections in Nature: Spiritual Wellbeing
The age-old mystery and beauty of nature can be found in the smallest little blossoms and vast mountain terrains alike. No matter how small, how wide, or how puzzling, the natural world provokes us to reflect on our existence in a way that nothing else can. Recognizing our place in this complex world can bring a sense of spiritual affirmation and wonder.
Nature also provides a chance to consider the extent of our interconnectedness. Just as a seed relies on sunlight and water, we too rely on nourishment from our surroundings – both physical and spiritual. When we understand where our food comes from, we can learn to appreciate our food sources and practice more mindful dieting choices.
Ways to Integrate Nature into Your Wellness Journey
Not super outdoorsy? No problem! There are many ways to engage with the natural world for physical and mental wellbeing. Here are a few ideas:
• Meditate outdoors
• Start a backyard culinary garden
• Read about explorers and wildlife expeditions
• Picnic in the park
• Exercise outside
Nature is the wellness gift that keeps on giving. Even when facing challenges, nature inspires us to take time and reflect on the meaning of it all. And though we may not come up with all the answers, we are often left with a stronger sense of humanity and a desire to approach all creatures with kindness – including ourselves. And that’s a great quality no matter where you are on your wellness journey.