Tuesday, 29 August 2017

The Importance of Being Outside

The outdoors and I never used to get along. Every time I tried to connect with nature…something would happen. Like, an arm full of mosquito bites, a bee sting, or an allergic reaction. (Fun fact: my list of allergies includes trees, moss, and freshly cut grass, among other things.) It made it a little difficult to fall in with the splendid beauty of rolling hills, leafy branches, and warm sunshine. As a result, I much preferred to be safe and sound. Inside.

Somehow, all of that changed. One day, out of nowhere, I fell in love with the outdoors. Maybe it was all of those childhood camping trips catching up to me or perhaps I just stopped to smell the roses. Now, I love to appreciate stunning landscapes and moments of tranquility. Whether I am out and about, walking home, or even watching a video, movie, or TV show that has a lot of nature scenes, I do my best to include the outdoors in my lifestyle. The reason for this is simple: it is vitally important to create a strong bond with the out of doors.

Studies show that people who go outside regularly have increased memory function, are less stressed, and experience reduced inflammation in the body. Even though many of us spend the bulk of our time inside (whether by choice or due to our work commitments) there are plenty of ways to shake things up. A few suggestions include:

Bringing the Outside In. Sometimes, it just isn’t possible to go outdoors. Despite your best intentions, life gets busy and that picturesque day in the park goes by the wayside. Not to worry. Just do what you can to bring the outside in! It will make you happier and more at ease. Hang up a picture of an inspiring scene in nature, light an ocean scented candle, or play a CD with nature sounds while you work.

Meditate In Nature. You can also try incorporating nature into something you already do. For instance, rather than spending your daily meditation inside your home, head into the backyard, onto the balcony, or walk to a nearby park. You may actually find it easier then usual to fall into a meditative state. Give it a try…. it can work wonders for your spirit and state of mind.

Go on a Hike. If you’re looking to add some physical activity to your day, take a hike! Check out a local trail on a Saturday morning and start your weekend off right. There is nothing that a little exercise, nature, and positive energy can’t fix. Grab a good friend or family member and make it a social experience you won't soon forget. 

Going outside is more important than you may think. So take time to appreciate nature and deepen your connection to self.

Do you enjoy being outdoors? Why or why not?

- Shannon

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