Nature is the Best Medicine

Resting under a vibrant maple with a good book on a crisp October afternoon…

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Listening to seagulls cry as waves crash upon my sunburnt toes…

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Waking up to the sparkling sun giving its morning hug to the snow-covered mountain tops…

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These are some of my favorite adult memories that I am so grateful my children get to experience, because in my opinion,  nothing heals us more than being one with nature–it is an essential part of being alive.

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From childhood, I can  still vividly recall running around barefoot as much as possible– playing ball games on the gritty gravel road, rolling down the velvety grass  of our hilly  front yard, hopping over slippery rocks while crossing  babbling brooks. Bumps and bruises were the norm of outdoor exploration, and band aids were the tattoos of today.

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Looking back now, I believe that child-like wonder has never left my soul and I am so grateful for this.  Perhaps that is why I have such wanderlust, for  I am most at peace when I am embracing the world around me.

Kristen and brooke standing on beach in Manasquan New Jersey

 

And while many people equate nature solely with adventure, as I did as a child, I realize now it offers so much more. Nature is an essential part off our health–physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. With our high-tech world, I only hope that people, especially our youth, don’t forsake the natural gifts Mother Earth has blessed us with.

Here are just a few reasons you should become one with nature as soon and as often as possible:

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*Happiness and Spirituality

It is proven that the closer you live to nature, the happier you will be–electrochemical changes actually occur in your brain,  which produce calming and healing results.  No matter what your religious affiliation, the outdoors is the ideal setting to pray, meditate, ponder, reflect or plainly appreciate the short gift of life we’ve been given.

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*Improved Sleep

Many studies have shown that morning sunlight specifically  helps regulate your internal biological clock which aids in  a deeper sleep and who doesn’t need a better night’s rest?

 

* Fitness

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Experiencing nature does often involve physical activity–whether it be planting a garden, biking through your neighborhood, kayaking down a river or strolling along a beach side boardwalk; these activities improve physical fitness and can help decrease the likelihood of obesity.

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*Improved Physical and Mental Health

Nature has been shown to improve physical health. Patients who are exposed to the outdoors recover more quickly, use less medication, and have shorter hospital stays. Even having a window view or a painting of nature in a hospital room has shown remarkable healing results.

I was recently diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency.  I was having horrible symptoms and just knew something wasn’t right.  When my doctor told me to begin taking Vitamin D supplements, I was dumbfounded.  I couldn’t believe how much better I felt just a week after starting the supplements.  Vitamin D is crucial.  We need it to prevent disease, infection and improve bone health.

Anxiety, depression, ADHD, and other psychiatric problems and illnesses are positively affected by  the relaxing and calming properties of nature.  Brooke has suffered with anxiety for several years and all symptoms vanish when we are on an outdoor vacation,  or do yoga in the backyard, or even write poetry while sitting on the bridge behind our home. When she is feeling stress coming on, we immediately head outside to breath.

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Even if you are bogged down with work, take your computer outside.  Find a quiet spot to work. You’ll be amazed how much more productive you’ll be outdoors.  Even if it’s just for a few minutes each day… taste the raindrops, feel the warmth of the sun on your face, take off your shoes and rest your bare feet on the soft earth, stop to smell the flowers.  Your mind, body and soul with thank you.

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