With a huge percentage of the world’s population residing in urban areas, it has become more difficult for humans to stay connected with nature.
The struggle for power and wealth and the competitive nature of city life often suck up our energy, time and inner peace, leaving us anxious, stressed, and like our lives have lost meaning.
We go for retreats to fill that void, fight despair and depression with pills, buy expensive cars, and change jobs but somehow, we still can’t find ourselves. We start wondering what’s wrong with us.
Well, what we are missing is the connection with Mother Nature and her rhythms. Our lives don’t always have to revolve around the rat race or buying stuff that we don’t require. A little time with the wild could be all we need to feel better.
Reconnecting with nature gives us a sense of wellbeing, purpose, and understanding. More importantly, it fights negative thinking and invites positive energy and clear-headedness, helping us to come to terms with things we can’t control. Here are ways through which you can effectively reconnect with nature.
1. Taking Up Outdoor Activities
Spending time in the amazing outdoors is one of the greatest ways to ensure that you are constantly reconnecting with nature. There are dozens of activities you can do out there to open your senses and fully immerse yourself into the natural world.
From woodsy experiences like camping, hiking, and snowboarding to the water world fun like fishing, and swimming, Mother Nature has something to cuddle us all.
But how exactly do these activities help us bond with nature? Read on!
Setting up a camp in the woods is an exciting way to recouple with nature. It requires no experience, and will truly get you appreciating all the natural marvels around you.
Just being surrounded by trees, natural flowing waters, and sweet bird memories or watching the beautiful star-lit sky in the night even for a little while could be all you need to get your body and soul revitalized.
And guess what? You will need very little gear to enjoy a night in the wilderness. As long as you have a good tent, sleeping bag, and warm clothing, you are good to go. In areas where temperatures dip significantly in the night, however, you may be required to throw in a camping sleeping pad for extra insulation against the cold ground.
To have a memorable camping experience, you will need to do everything right. Sometimes having the appropriate gear isn’t enough – you have to make sure the location of your campsite is appropriate too.
Always look for the flattest area available. An even spot will not only make cooking much easier but also sleeping much more comfortable.
You may want to consider a spot covered by trees too for additional shade and to block hostile winds. Avoid areas with lots of vegetation and roots and keep a safe distance from dying or dead specimens.
Once you have selected your preferred location, you can then work on assembling the shelter, gathering the fire pit stones, and planning fun activities for the days and nights you will be in the woods.
Moving to this new environment will give you new sensory experiences. You will see and feel nature thrive in the trees, plants, and everything around you.
After a few days of work and play out there, you will be surprised how reconnected you will feel. There will be an unbreakable bond between you and nature, so take the opportunity to learn about it, appreciate it, and be in it.
Savor every moment – it could be your only chance to be able to see the Milky Way in entirety, interact with birds and animals, and try out a variety of wild edibles. There is nothing quite like it indoors or in the city. This is an experience you will hold dear for many years to come.
If your brain feels drained and you need something to give it a little boost, look no further than the nearest trail. Forget caffeine – a study shows that taking a nature walk helps clear your mind, enhances your attention spans and improves your problem-solving skills by up to 50 %.
Hiking has also been observed to help people with severe anxiety or depression feel less depressed, hopeless, and suicidal.
Bonding with nature, generally, brings a sense of well-being, which gives us peace of mind.
If you haven’t gone for a hike before, the exercise may feel a little intimidating. The trick, however, is to start small.
Begin with a few kilometers at a time and build up to longer walks as your body develops strength. It would also help if you start with a backpack of some sort. Most people miscalculate how heavy a pack may feel on one’s core until they try walking a few kilometers with it.
And as with any trip to the backcountry, go prepared for the worst. It doesn’t matter how short your hike is; pack extra water, snacks, bug spray, sunscreen, and a first aid kit. You may not need to use that bug spray or emergency kit but it is always a good practice to go ready for anything.
It also doesn’t hurt to bring a friend along. Trekking can be a boring activity if you have no one to cheer you up or motivate you to keep going. So, partner up with someone familiar with the area or the trail, and before you head out, make sure someone knows where you are going as well as when you plan to return.
Once you are on the trail, don’t just walk with your eyes focused entirely on the ground. Take a moment to stop and observe the surroundings.
You can even ask your friend awareness questions like whether they have seen a certain plant before, why the trees are so much bigger in the area, or what they can hear.
The aim of these questions is not to get a direct answer, rather, to help the other party experience nature more. Questions will cause them to shift their perspective toward a certain subject. They facilitate self-discovery, which is important in enhancing problem-solving skills.
Each time you come across something you have not seen before, take a few minutes to take it in. Be keen on the impact it has on you. How is the quality of your thoughts? What about your body, how does it feel?
It would be nice to bring a journal or notebook with you to write a few phrases down about how you feel. That way, you will be able to keep track of your experience of reconnecting with nature.
For most people, there is nothing more thrilling than being on a snowy slope and feeling the wind dash past you as you slide down the incline at speed. This ecstasy is what lures snow hobbyists back to the pistes year after year.
But excitement is not the only perk that snowboarding brings – it improves your mental and physical well-being too.
Snowboarding gets us reconnecting with nature and reaping all of the benefits that the natural world throws our way.
Often, the cold season can bring us into a depression, commonly referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Snowboarding combines the pleasure of the great outdoors with fresh air and sunshine exposure, which most of us forget about in winter. It is, therefore, a powerful stress and depression fighter.
Not only does it aid in neural growth and reducing inflammation but it also creates new brain activities that promote a feeling of relaxation and well-being.
Just being on a snow-covered mountain or hill, surrounded by the indescribable natural outdoor beauty will get you breaking out of negative thoughts and forgetting about the anxiety and stresses of life.
Your exposure to sunlight will also increase your vitamin D levels, which helps fight SAD and improve your mood. It has also been found to reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
The vitamin D you obtain from the natural daylight is a wonder drug that many of us overlook. And you certainly won’t get your share curling next to a fireplace all winter long. In simpler words, hibernating gives you cancer; snowboarding is the antidote!
Ask any angler why they like spending time afield bobber fishing for bluegills or casting for trout and you will probably get this answer – freedom.
Just like being in the woods, going fishing helps declutter the mind and minimize stress. Nothing brings back the sense of liveliness and rebuilds our energy reserves like a day or days spent on a pond or cool mountain stream interacting with the beautiful marine creatures.
It doesn’t matter whether you reel in some fish or not. A bad fishing day is still a thousand times better than a day indoors.
The activity is not only fun but also triggers changes in the brain that lower anxiety, instill a sense of calm, and improve your levels of concentration. It has been linked to fighting chronic depression too.
Many charities have realized the therapeutic benefits of angling and have started using them to address post-traumatic stress disorder.
Additionally, fishing tops up on your vitamin D reserves, which helps in regulating the amount of phosphate and calcium in your body. This keeps your teeth and bones healthy and boosts your metabolic and immune system.
Fishing can be combined with camping and today, there are so many places that can give you both. Most of these are family-friendly, which offers a great opportunity to bond and make cherished memories.
Just make sure to prepare adequately and obtain all the required paperwork, including a fishing license. Pack your camping and fishing gear too or make plans to rent.
Swimming is an activity that human beings have been using to reconnect with nature for many years. Apart from being fun, swimming also provides plentiful of mental and physical benefits.
Just picture yourself in the ocean, lake, river, or swimming pool, mesmerized by the soothing feel of the cool water as you swim.
Do you feel peaceful? Calm? Relaxed? There is something therapeutically beautiful about taking a plunge into a natural water body.
For starters, it releases the feel-good hormones a.k.a. endorphins that boost positivity, happiness, and brings about a substantial sense of well-being.
Swimming also promotes the formation of new brain cells that break down during long-term (chronic) stress. It is, therefore, one of the most effective remedies for stress reduction.
Moreover, studies have shown that just immersing yourself in water increases the flow of blood to your brain. This is important for supplying the brain with oxygen, nutrients, and glucose and shielding it from harmful toxins.
Taking some time out of your busy schedule and going swimming gives you space to refresh and rejuvenate. It enhances your mental well-being, enabling you to think more rationally about choices and decisions you have to make.
2. Grow A Garden
If you are not an outdoor person but still looking for an activity that will get you rebuilding your link to the natural world, try gardening. No. Not transforming your entire backyard into a potato garden; just a little section that you can manage comfortably.
Planting and nurturing your plants will help you appreciate everything Mother Nature has done for us. That’s not all. You will eat fresh and healthy foods as opposed to artificial processed ones.
If you don’t have room for a garden, even a couple of jars of spices or herbs will do. Or just observe some of the changes in the trees in your yard.
Either way, you will enliven your sense of gratitude, wonder, and remind yourself that miracles are always happening even when we can’t see them.
3. Play With Your Pet
Pets are cute, cool, funny, and playful, but above all, they have a unique personality that helps them face each moment with joy. Spending some time with them reminds us to emulate these virtues.
You see, animals personify numerous qualities that stem deeply from Mother Nature. They remind us that we are part of the natural kingdom and encourage us to be better humans.
Build a strong and loving relationship with your pet and you will feel much happier and content.
Humans Are A Part Of Nature
Realizing that nature is part of us and we are part of it is the reason why we can connect with it.
To reap the maximum benefits of the natural world, tune into it and get friendly with its elements. Study about minerals and crystals and their healing powers. Breathe with the trees.
Climb a mountain. Sing with the birds. Feel the wind and warmth of the sun on your skin. Do meditative poses like yoga, qi gong, and tai chi in nature.
Imagine yourself a tree; what fruits would you bear? Or an eagle in the sky; where would you fly to?
We can effortlessly tap into the natural world because it is inherently in us. A beautiful and special connection exists between us, and that’s why whatever part of nature we tap into, we will always enjoy peace, calmness, and relaxation.
So, no matter how long we stay indoors, the truth remains; we are part of nature and nothing can change that. Once we have embraced this magical bond, we will become happier and feel more fulfilled.
The Art Of Slowing Down
Nature is never at a neck-breaking pace like we are in our daily lives. Everything in it happens slowly, without struggle, but always gets done.
To reconnect with nature, therefore, we have to slow down and embrace the present moment. Most of the time we think that things won’t get done if we don’t rush them, but ironically, not slowing down will only get us missing out on all the beautiful things around us.
Take a slow walk on the beach and allow yourself to feel and soak into the soothing breeze of the ocean. Water your garden without a rush. Sit in the woods and watch tree branches dance to the sweet wind melodies.
In short, don’t treat your time with nature like just another task on your activities’ list. To effectively connect with it, adjust into its relaxing and gentle pace.
In A Nutshell
Spending time in nature is a great way to improve your sense of well-being. There are many ways to do it: camp in the woods, take a hike, bounce on snowy slopes, enjoy a swim, or go fishing. And if all else fails, play with your pet or bring nature to you by starting a garden.
No matter how you do it, finding your link to the natural world is vital to finding your happiest and healthiest self. We are a part of Mother Nature and that’s why we feel lost, ungrounded, and anxious when we separate from her.
When we reconnect with nature, we find our truest selves. We benefit from our natural mother’s cuddling and importantly, we get restored.