Why does nature matter? The answer to this question is sometimes easily lost in the noise and distractions of our normal day-to-day. And now, when our “normal” is being redefined and closed in around us, it’s even easier to lose sight of the importance of a connection with the natural world around us. However, I believe that now, more than ever, we can benefit from the therapy and healing that being connected to nature may bring.
There’s a type of environmental sensory-overload that humans experience that is triggered by the sounds, sights, and daily pressures of society, and this overload can cause us to slip into the fight/flight/freeze mode that is instinctual in all of us. Even something as innocuous as having to remain at home is a trigger for some, especially when it’s a part of something bigger that seems so far out of our control. This creates stress that can manifest itself in many different ways in our lives, from physical- to emotional- illness; and can strain our relationships, both personal and professional. Connecting with nature can combat this. There’s an animal part of us that has existed much longer than the noise we’ve surrounded ourselves with; and finding an opportunity to make a connection with nature, no matter how small, can have a calming and “centering” effect on this animal.
The beautiful thing is that we get to decide what this connection looks like for ourselves, even within the constraints of what our world looks like today. It can be a run or a bike ride down the quiet streets of where we live, or time spent researching something in nature that’s always piqued our curiosity, but have never had the time to learn about. It can be a quiet moment of breathing and reflection in the yard. Or a cup of tea on our balcony or porch, or in front of our favorite window shared over a video chat with a friend. The activity itself is less meaningful than the intention we bring to it; to take the time to be mindful of our place in something bigger, and to take comfort in that place.
As we move forward into whatever our future may become, I encourage us all to find that connection. Find it and carry it with us, so that it may continue to offer a sense of peace amidst the noise of it all. Because regardless of where we are, and of the challenges that we may face, we all belong in nature.