Nature The Miraculous Healer
Nature has a beautiful way of calming an overburdened, overly concerned, and anxious mind. According to a Harvard study, there's a name for it. It's called Ecotherapy- which is contributing to the findings, and according to the information they share the "research in a growing scientific field called ecotherapy has shown a strong connection between time spent in nature and reduced stress, anxiety, and depression." Today millions of people struggle with anxiety, suicidal thoughts, stress, and depression. Considering the barrage of negative news and sensational stories along with the feeding of antagonistic soundbites flickering on screens and entering our eyes and ears, it's no wonder people are experiencing confusion of thought, anxiety, and depression.
Studies have shown that people that watch TV actually change their brain's structure. According to an article published by Scientific America, Television (or any screens for that matter) can affect the brain of a child in profound ways, including causing more depression and personality problems later in life.
The good news is the brain can be rewired for happiness. I know because I have experienced it. Staying away from negative people, news, certain off-putting social circles, has helped me a lot. It's opened up my mind to dream and enjoy life again. Hanging out with people that love to complain about their ailments or problems without being proactive can be quite draining both for the person chronically complaining and for the person who lends an ear for the umpteenth time.
There are so many more beneficial, positive, creative, and beautiful things to focus on, and only a few hours of free time in a day to do so. I deliberately choose who I spend my time with, as well as what I do with that time. Time is precious. Time is the one thing that we can never get back, and I believe in investing in it wisely and in people that are willing to add something positive back into my life. Life is challenging enough, and having time to focus on what brings you and loved ones joy is vital for a healthy, vibrant state of mind.
A Better Way To Spend Time
It seems there are not enough hours in a day to do everything we feel we are supposed to do. The more we cram into our busy schedules, the more empty we feel studies have shown. There comes a time when it is healthy to clear your "to-do list." I changed my "to-do list" into an "I want to do list." It's much different, and I get more things accomplished as a result too. It's a mindset. Even some of the things that seem like "have- to's" can easily be turned into "get- to's." Having a list that I WANT to do has changed my life. It's been amazing! It may seem counter-intuitive to ditch your to-do list, but you will have more success in doing what truly matters if you learn to make a list that you truly WANT to do instead of a list that feels like an " I have to do it list." It's funny how my list of supposedly important things shrank once I prioritized what was truly of value to my life, which brings us to the next question.
Who Are You?
I don't mean what cause are you standing for or against. I mean, WHO ARE YOU without all of that? What dreams do you have deep down inside of you? Do you know what you like - genuinely? When is the last time you spent time doing something that gave you a deep sense of peace and joy? Do you believe that your dreams for yourself can help others? Does that idea seem daunting or possible for you? We have the power to turn dreams into reality but first, we have to make sure we aren't living someone else's dream instead of our own.
I believe that each human being is incredibly unique with gifts that can change the world. We are all unique in some special way. We can all make a difference right where we are in our own little or big corner of the world. By changing a portion of the world right now today, anyone who is willing to, can make a substantial contribution to society and bring more balance to life both for themselves and for others.
Do you realize that not one other human being shares your distinctive fingerprints? Out of all the millions and billions of people in the world- no fingerprint is repeated. You are indeed an original work of art! Every single one of us is a beautiful work of art (and I believe created in the image of a creative God) and a very elaborate and unique and brilliant creation indeed. Do you think that about yourself? That you are an elaborate work of art? Do you believe that you have a "uniqueness" that no one else has? We are all original in so many ways, and yet we all thrive in having peace of mind. So how do we, as human beings, find it? Well, here is how I find it.
For me to feel true peace of mind for an extended period of time, I allow the penetrating power of nature to wash over me and refresh my overworked mind. It's no secret that many of us are addicted to our technology. When is the last time you turned off your television, iPad, radio, news, phone, newspaper, etc. to reconnect with your higher power and self without any interruptions or distractions? When is the last time you chose the activity you actually wanted to and chose the thoughts you wanted to think instead of someone else's thoughts, opinions, and ideas?
If the technology has hijacked your mind, turn it off. Listen to your own voice and dreams for a change. What are they saying to you? What are they telling you? Are those dreams you created to impress others or truly to bring you joy and peace of mind? Are you calm, confident, and strong? If you are feeling overwhelmed as I have been before, you may also benefit from a "recharge of your mental batteries" in nature, so you can hear your own voice again and enjoy renewed peace of mind. According to this study (by Harvard), nature holds some mysterious secrets to happiness. Below is an Ecotherapy recipe we enjoyed last weekend.
Sacred Saturdays & Tree Tops Park
Saturdays, my husband and I take time to recharge our batteries. We do not allow work or anyone else's agenda to bleed into our sacred space. The way we see it, we are not useful to anybody else if we do not replenish our own mental and emotional cup for one day out of the week. It may seem or sound selfish to some who work incessantly, but I assure you that a healthy mind is the best gift of wealth you can give to yourself and your loved ones. My husband and I both enjoy nature a lot. I enjoy taking pictures and drawing things I see, and yes, daydreaming! I enjoy seeing beautiful flowers, bees, butterflies, trees, birds, along with swampy vast water expanses and all that goes along with it. It makes me feel more connected to who I am and also to my higher power. Both my husband and I get a delightful battery recharge to our soul. As it turns out - it's not just me. Nature is healing! That's the reason my husband and I enjoy finding less explored areas and visiting beautiful outdoor places, be it farms, parks, trails, or areas of town that are particularly beautiful and even snorkeling or diving if time allows.
Guarding Your Space
We started committing to spending more time out in the great outdoors and letting nature give us her fresh beauty secrets weekly. Soon we started noticing so much relaxation and peace flooding our mind and body. I noticed that we were just a little quieter and a little more introspective. I could hear my own voice start to emerge. I didn't feel so overwhelmed. Suddenly the things that seemed so all-consuming before were less important in the grand scheme of things. I felt more connected to life. I felt more connected to my husband. We both felt more relaxed, peaceful, and recharged.
My husband loves not having to think about work. He also enjoys getting to spend more quality time together in a non-work related environment where we both abstain from all business talk or stress-related conversations. It takes a little practice, but once we catch our conversations and simply enjoy the moment of where we are and stop worrying, we take in the natural surrounding. It's like taking a mini-vacation before the work week begins again. It recharges our batteries and helps both of us appreciate life a lot more. We love the healing power of nature for body mind and Spirit. Getting into nature for peace of mind is one of the best decisions one could ever make, and you don't need a lot of money to take a mini-breather.
Since we started committing to this beautiful ritual, we have enjoyed visiting all kinds of natural parks and destinations. I have learned more about foraging and plants, too (which I find scientifically fascinating).
Last Saturday we went to a beautiful park called Tree Tops Park. I think it must be one of the most beautiful parks we have in South Florida. Between flora and fauna, we were delighted with the beauty of the natural surroundings. The incredibly diverse array of birds who made incredible calls to one another, the leaves and creaking bending trees in the lazy wind, gave a cozy feeling of adventure. The Wood Stork we had the privilege of seeing as he (or she) craftily used it's legs and beak to fish amazed the both of us. The Storks wingspan was about 6 feet across. That's the first time I have ever seen a Wood Stork in my life. The cost of the entrance to the entire park was only three dollars.
Here's a picture from the outing below, along with a link for you to check out. The park has a pleasant family-friendly atmosphere, and it has plenty to see, especially if you enjoy nature. Here are a few pictures I snapped last week.
Lilly's of South Florida Tree Tops Park Photo's by Michelle Touchstone
Marlberry, Ardisia escallonioides
Here's the link to visit Tree Tops Park
South Florida National Park and Preserves.
There are many beautiful scenic places all over South Florida, and I will provide this link to help you find one close to you. Links to beautiful scenic parks in Florida.
I also enjoy this site to the beautiful national parks because it has pictures, so if you are more visual like me, then you will enjoy this site.
National Parks Outside Florida (The Rest of The USA)
If you don't live in South Florida, here's another great link to help you locate the parks all over the USA. For a map with some ideas of where you can visit next click this link to national parks service maps.
You can also do a search on your own by typing something like "the best national parks nearby" and inserting your zip code.
Whatever you choose to do to reconnect with yourself, I hope that you know that there is a world of hope out there despite all the news and political divisions. I hope you remember that all of our time here on earth is short. It flies by so very fast. Why not take that time you have and enjoy it a bit? Remember, nature can heal what ails you, and you can recover from an overburdened, anxious mind by going to where beautiful nature thrives. She is always there waiting to calm your tired, anxious mind with her healing open arms...