How Nature Heals

In collaboration with Glamping Hub

In this modern world in which we live, many of us city-dwellers tend to be deprived of the healing powers of spending time outdoors. Office jobs typically run 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and from 5 p.m. until bedtime we find ourselves binging Netflix, staring at our phones, or working overtime. Screen time has taken the place of green time, and the norm seems to be that we look as if we’re rushing through life as quickly as possible. Nature, on the other hand, does not work like that.

Humans are naturalwe come from nature, and we belong in nature, no matter how much we evolve. Nature doesn’t ask us for a deadline; it doesn’t command you to rush. There are no outlets in tree trunks, and there are no fiber optics in the soil. As a city-dweller myself, the things that make me feel the most at peace are the simple things that I once took for granted: small singing birds, the sweet smell of spring, and tall, full trees, especially the way they sound moving in the breeze.

The moment when I truly understood how tremendous of a toll the absence of nature played in my life was when I was visiting a relative in the countryside. My normal state was to hurry, whether that’s through the maze of streets in my neighborhood on my way to work; pacing around the grocery store; or just while at work, seated and completing my tasks. On this particular day, instead of hearing car horns and noisy street banter, I felt the gentle spring wind and heard only the sound of birds overhead.

Right then, I realized that the race of my everyday life was only me against myself, and I was never going to win, because there was no prize. My muscles relaxed, the ever-present tension in my shoulders dissipated, and my anxiety erased itself. It’s a feeling that is not registered until truly experienced, and since then, I have vowed to make spending more time in nature a priority.

Moments where you slow down and let your mind and physical being disconnect are far more important than any cyber connection or screen time spent. Taking a break to slow down and spend time outdoors, whether it’s just for an afternoon or completely going off the grid, is imperative for both mind, body, and soul.

“I just need some fresh air” is a phrase that we have all used—reflecting the simplicity of our needs, but also how profoundly being around nature benefits us. For decades, research has been conducted by countless organizations and medical professionals, which analyzes the benefits of time spent in nature and the healing powers of the outdoors. From instant mental health advantages to long-term physical gains, science says it all.

For many of us, we work to live, which results in long hours sitting while focusing on a screen, creating physical and mental tension, whether we notice it or not. A tranquil walk outside in a natural setting can decrease high blood pressure, something that we all might experience from day to day. The sight, smell, and scenery of a dense forest or an urban green space stimulates ideas, creativity, and inspiration. Those who spend more time outdoors are said to have better moods, lower stress and anxiety levels, and better short-term memory spans.

Physically, the evidence is equally as strong. Pollutants plague not only our city, but also suburbs, creating all kind of stressors that work against our vital organs. Studies show that treatment for chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, can benefit from exposure to nature, due to a greater sense of well-being and happiness. A lifestyle that involves more time spent in nature can not only help prevent future illness, but it can also assist with the healing process. The Japanese phenomenon known as “forest bathing” has become common practice for some and has been proven to reduce cortisol levels and strengthen the immune system.

For those who love to explore, spending time in the wild is a no-brainer; however, city-dwellers might find it more difficult to find the motivation to make their way to the nearest green space. From one urbanite to another: it is possible, and it is worth it. I will never forget that spring day, drinking a tea and feeling the fresh, clean breeze on my face as I took a sigh of relief. During that afternoon, I experienced immediate gratification from the benefits of nature, and since then, whenever I am in a forest, along the beach, or in the country, I am never disappointed.

There is no better feeling than hearing nothing and seeing everything. Embracing the silence—with no trace of noise pollution, including engines, neighbors, and parties—and observing everything, from trees and flowers to birds and clouds, will make you want to savor the feeling of that moment forever. Nature, in the end, is a friend you can rely on. It’s a friend who will listen to your needs; help you heal your wounds; and bring you back to your roots, allowing you to find yourself all over again.


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