One of the best remedies for my anxiety over the years has been to get myself outside. And by that I don’t mean tojust get outside the house, but to get outside in the natural world.
The past couple of days I’ve been outside more than usual, and I can already tell it has affected my mood for the better.
Even though the first day I was in the hubbub of the fair and the second I was selling books, the connection with the sun, wind, and trees was still enough to settle me. Today especially as I sat in a sunbeam and watched golden leaves fall on my book table I could almost feel my pulse rate lowering.
Some of this is scientific. There are a lot of studies right now about Vitamin D and how it relates to depression. Most of us in the northern hemisphere are pretty vitamin D deficient since the main way we receive the nutrient is through sunlight. (So much so that you may want to talk to your doc about taking supplements).
However, I think nature’s healing power goes way beyond vitamin D.
Whenever I get outside and see the color of the sky (no matter how blue or gray it may be), and feel the breeze against my skin, my body immediately relaxes. An after dinner walk around sunset is a little piece of heaven in my day. Don’t even get me started about how happy it makes me to walk in the forest or by the edge of the sea.
I think as human beings we were meant to be connected with nature. It speaks to us of God and life in ways that we cannot begin to understand.
When we cut ourselves off from this resource (or at least when I cut myself off from this resource) by getting stuck moving only from our suburban houses to our cars to our offices, we suffer.
I read in a John O’Donohue book that if we begin to get off kilter in our spirits, we should spend a week intentionally watching the rising and the setting of the sun. After seven days of connecting ourselves back with this cycle of nature, we will begin to feel more grounded and at ease in the world.
As we enjoy this fall weekend, I invite you to take an hour or two and reconnect with the healing beauty of nature. Walk in the grass, splash in a stream, let your hand trace the intricacies of a leaf. Do whatever you do to get grounded in this good creation we live in.
Can you tell that being in the outside world helps you be less anxious? What is your favorite way to ground yourself in nature?