Let Nature Calm Your Stress
Your job often places you in front of computer monitors, sometimes in stuffy cubicles under florescent lights for many hours each day. At the end of the day you leave work, cram in other jobs, cook and eat dinner, finally collapsing in front of the television and nodding off. Or worse still, you get out your laptop or notebook and do more work!
If you didn’t have a tranquil nature scene on your screen saver, you most likely wouldn’t see much of the great outdoors. Nature just isn’t on your schedule. It may not even occur to you that a drawer full of anti-acids and paracetamol for your stress and tension isn’t a fraction as good as spending time outdoors.
Are you experienced?
But the only way to get the full benefit of nature is to actually experience it firsthand. You can’t read about it, look at photos, or watch it on television and get the same stress-relieving effect. Getting out and appreciating nature is definitely the best drug-free way to calm your nerves and ease your stress – even when the weather’s not great – getting outdoors can still work its magic on stress.
So stop protesting that you don’t have the time. You could take your lunch and go eat outside, or you could drive to a park and have lunch there. And instead of taking a coffee break, go outside and walk around the parking lot. You’ll get more healthful energy from fifteen minutes outdoors than a triple shot in a latte!
Awaken your senses
And while you’re outdoors, stop, look and listen. Stop your brain from running a ticker of your task list or replaying that last irritating client phone call. Look around you – really look.
What do you see? A tree – what kind of tree? A bush with flowers? Touch and smell the flowers. Research has shown that simply looking at flowers can help reduce stress. Did you see a squirrel playing under the tree? Watch it closely – squirrels can be highly entertaining, and if you bring peanuts it may put on a show for you. And as you watch, your stress will begin to fade.
Do you hear birds chirping? How many different kinds of birds do you see? If you look at every aspect of the scene, you’ll see things in nature that you haven’t noticed since you were a curious child. Those things didn’t go away, you just stopped looking for them as you overloaded yourself with more responsibilities and stress.
Look around your community to find a walking or hiking group. Most of these groups meet weekly for local events and then plan longer outdoor activities several times a year. This gets you outdoors with people who appreciate the natural world around them. And it’s great a great form of exercise that helps you dump the stress.
Another way to appreciate nature is through photography, that’s how I got hooked. If you have no experience at all with a camera, take a class at the local community college or adult education program. There’s tons of free photography tips on the internet, just check them out. Then get a camera and just start taking pictures. Lots of them.
A local park or garden spot is a great place to begin. Or you can take pictures of the foliage and animals in your neighborhood. As a photographer, you become highly tuned to your subject and appreciate all its nuances. With nature as your subject, you won’t have time or energy to waste on the stress of everyday life.
You’ll soon find yourself connecting with, and appreciating nature more, whilst de-stressing at the same time.
Copyright © Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd 2007. Written by Geoff Lyth