We are living in strange times. For millions of years, our ancestors slept under the stars. We sleep in concrete boxes. Our ancestors hunted for food and battled starvation.

Our food comes to us and we battle obesity. Our ancestors lived in small communities of closely related individuals. We live in concrete jungles filled with strangers. Is it any wonder that we sometimes feel lonely and anxious?

I’m not saying that living in a “state of nature” is preferable to modern society. Far from it! But, at the same time, when you look at the environment that we evolved in, it’s easy to see why returning to nature once in a while has so many positive effects.

 
 

In fact, according to recent research, not only is exposure to nature good for your emotional well-being, but, it may help to give your problem solving a temporary boost.

This has important implications for anyone wanting to get the most from life after 50. For starters, getting back to nature can be an important stress reliever, especially for people who live in cities. Second, since many of our anxieties are connected to practical issues with money, relationships, work or health, the mental boost that nature provides can help us to find new and creative solutions to our problems.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to get back to nature, even if you live in a city. Here are just a few examples.

If you live near a park or hiking location, you’re set! Just decide how many times a week you want to get out of the house and mark your calendar so that you don’t forget.

If not, there are still plenty of options. You could consider taking up urban gardening or creating your own window-box vegetable garden. Or, you could visit your local garden center and fill your apartment with oxygen producing plants.

If you are looking for something a bit more social, why not consider joining a bird-watching club, hiking club or gardening group?

Fresh air, laughter, and movement are the only anti-aging potions you’ll ever need.

Getting Back to Nature - Fresh air, laughter, and movement are the only anti-aging potions you’ll ever need.

As with so many aspects of life, the secret here is to start with a small, highly-achievable goal. You don’t need to move to the country or reorganize your entire apartment to benefit from spending more time in nature. Going for a 10 minute walk in the fresh air consistently will do more for your body and mind in the long-term than a 1-week intensive yoga and meditation retreat in Bali.

What are your favorite ways to get back to nature? What one small step do you think that you can take today to bring more nature into your life? Please join the discussion.

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