Does nature have an effect on people’s health and feeling of well-being? Common sense would seem to say that it does, but there are recent studies that back up that supposition. An article in Scientific American (“Nature that Nurtures,” March 2012) cited studies showing that hospital patients with windows looking out on leafy trees healed, on average, faster and needed less pain medication than patients whose window looked out on a brick wall. Other studies documented that just three to five minutes spent looking at a view dominated by trees, flowers, or water can begin to reduce anger, anxiety, and pain.
Now I don’t know about you, but I figured this out some time ago! I used to go on long trail rides on my horse whenever I felt the need to unwind. Feeling the movement of the horse and taking in the surroundings was a sure-cure for the blues or mental fatigue. These days, I no longer own a horse, but I get the same therapeutic benefits by going for a walk. Whatever thoughts are swirling around in my brain take a back seat to the power of nature to amaze and fascinate. The photos I chose for this post weren’t taken recently, but I picked them to show tranquil scenery that makes me feel good even when I’m just looking at the pictures!
Some of my best times with nature are those spent alone. With no distractions, I can breathe in the smell of wet leaves and damp earth, feel the soft ground give where the voles have made a labyrinth of tunnels underneath, and hear the faraway cry of the lone raven calling from the mountain top. As I walk, my thoughts and everyday cares drift to the joys and mysteries of nature around me.
No matter what’s going on in my life, getting outside can brighten my mood and give me a new perspective on the world. When was the last time you gave nature a chance to work its magic?
I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses
put in order. – John Burroughs