Have you lost touch with nature?
If you are like most people over 60, who spend 90% of their time indoors, the answer is almost certainly “yes”. Is it any surprise that we feel anxious and worn out when our environments are so different than what our bodies and minds were designed for?
We came from nature and have a deep psychological need to spend time outdoors. Our souls long for open skies, not cramped rooms – fresh air, not polluted streets – and natural light, not artificial illumination.
When we connect with nature, we connect with ourselves. When we listen to nature’s voice, our happiness flows like a mountain stream, bouncing over the rocks that life throws in our way. When was the last time that you connected with nature? How did it make you feel? Please watch the following short video and join the conversation.
Enjoying nature is not just for environmentalists and children. There are scientific reasons that everyone, including people in their 60s and beyond, can benefit from time outdoors.
For thousands of years, our ancestors lived in a state of nature. Without modern technology, they were forced to pay attention to every aspect of their environment – the calls of the animals, the rustle of the leaves and the changing of the seasons.
Man was not born apart from nature. He was born a part of nature.
Through technology, our environment has changed. The wilderness has given way to the concrete jungle. But, while our environment has changed, our minds have not. We are still fascinated by nature. On a subliminal level, green grass, running water and beautiful plants relax us. They remind us of a time when life was simple. Fortunately, there are many simple ways that we can enjoy nature the happiness it brings, without abandoning the conveniences of modern life. Have you done anything to get back to nature today?
The first way to enjoy nature is also the most obvious – get out of the house and explore.
You don’t need to travel to exotic places to enjoy nature. It is all around you, even if you live in a city. The trick is to connect with and appreciate the abundance of nature, wherever you find it.
Don’t be a passive observer. Become a part of the experience. Stop to smell the roses – literally. As you walk, pay attention to your senses. How does the sun feel against your face? How many sounds can you identify?
Let nature surprise you and try to notice the intricate details around you. When you see something interesting, don’t keep on walking. Stop. Examine the texture of a flower or the depth, color and movement in a pool of water. Where will you go today to experience nature?
When we connect with nature, we connect with ourselves. When we listen to nature’s voice, our happiness flows like a mountain stream, bouncing over the rocks that life throws in our way.
Getting out of the house may be the most obvious way to explore nature, but, it is not the only way. We can also bring nature to us. If you want to be happier, craft your environment with nature in mind. Take a moment to look around you. Whether you live in a house in the country or a high-rise apartment in a major city, there are things that you can do to bring nature into your home.
Bring as much natural light into your house as possible. Open your blinds or curtains during the day and use mirrors to maximize the light from your windows.
Use plants to clean the air and beautify your home. Consider plants like Aloe, Gerber daisy and Chrysanthemum, which have been shown to improve air quality.
Are you the kind of person who leaves the TV on in the background? Why not consider playing a nature CD for part of the day instead? Look around again. Can you think of one small thing that you can do today to bring nature into your home?
As you look for ways to bring nature into your life, you will soon find yourself adopting a nature-focused mindset. Nature embodies many properties that people like us can learn from. Nature is resilient. Nature is tough. Nature can be beautiful and fragile, but, it can also be passionate and full of energy. Nature is also patient. Trees fall down and are replaced by new plants. Every occurrence in nature is an opportunity for growth and renewal.
How can you tap into the tranquility that nature offers? One way is bring nature into our minds. Start by closing your eyes and taking three deep breaths. Now imagine a beautiful nature scene. What do you see? Try to use all of your senses. What do you smell in the air? How does the wind feel when it touches your skin? What animals and plants do you see?
This is your sanctuary. It is a secret place that you can go when you need a break from the world. It is a safe place, a place of your making. The next time you feel stressed or anxious; try returning to your sanctuary. It will be waiting for you.
Take one step today to bring nature into your life. Maybe you will commit to taking a 30 minute walk in the park every day. Or perhaps you will go to your local garden center to buy a plant for your house. Whatever you do, remember that a healthy respect for nature is essential to happiness after 60.
Take action today and share your thoughts in the comments below. If you found this article helpful or inspiring – share it with a friend.