Out of all the enormous and dramatic changes that have occurred over the last century or so, easily one of the most striking has been the fact that societies around the world have gone from being almost entirely based in rural environments, to being centred around dense urban areas.
Unfortunately, a lot of people experience various negative consequences of being in urban environments constantly, and there is a renewed interest in “getting back to nature,” both in the form of things like wilderness camping experiences, and also in the form of carefully curated parks overseen by tree surgeons.
Here are just a few ways that spending more time in nature can change your life for the better.
By getting you out of your head and away from human technologies and systems, and back into the holistic present moment
When you stop to think about it, being in an entirely man-made environment automatically leads to a completely different experience of life than being in a natural environment.
According to the psychologist Iain McGilchrist, one of the consequences of being in an entirely man-made environment all the time, is that it gets us looking at the world in a compartmentalised and mechanical way, and can keep us trapped in our own thoughts and unable to experience the world in a “holistic” context.
Getting out into nature on a regular basis can help to get you out of your own head, and can help you to experience a sense of wholeness and awe.
By improving your health in a variety of ways
In the documentary “Call of The Forest,” Diana Beresford-Kroeger points out a fact that doesn’t often get a lot of press: that trees are constantly releasing aerosols of health promoting compounds into the air around them.
When we go walking in forests and other green areas, we are not only experiencing an elevated sense of well-being because of the beautiful scenery, but also because we are inhaling wholesome plant compounds in addition to fresh air, while also getting a bit of physical exercise.
Regularly visiting and walking in nature may well be one of the easiest and most rewarding ways of improving your general health overall.
By helping your thoughts to flow more freely
Although spending time in nature can help you to get out of your own head, it can also have the effect of helping your thoughts to flow more freely, when you have a particular issue that’s on your mind and that you want to get to the bottom of. It is largely a matter of where you direct your attention.
Physically moving your body can naturally help to promote the free flow of thoughts, and doing so in a natural environment can help to give you a more relaxed perspective that often contributes greatly to “getting out of your own way” when thinking things through.
Among other things, this means that getting out into nature may present the solutions you’ve been looking for, to a particular issue.