Are you more a beach person or a hiking person? When you think about relaxing, what comes to mind? I’m sure that whatever you pictured, it has something to do with nature. As for me, I can’t get enough of long walks in the woods. The time I spend surrounded by trees, listening to the leaves rustling in the breeze, is pure magic. I love the soothing sound of birds chirping and the gorgeous green colours of the forest. And what can I say about the smells? I close my eyes and soak up the peaceful feeling of my surroundings. I go into “sleep” mode, like my computer screen. I just do nothing. I contemplate life. I let nature and its harmony seep into my soul, and I fill up on light. I concentrate on what I’m feeling. I tap into the energy flowing around me.
Things look very different to me now, from where I’m sitting in the twilight of my life. The beauty of nature appeals to me much more, and I feel like I’m an important part of it. Albert Einstein said, “Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better.”
I’ve embraced a new motto: “Please do not disturb, I’m busy taking my time.” This may sound contradictory, but the less time I have ahead of me, the more I want to slow down.
Need I remind you of the benefits of being in nature? It can help prevent depression, increase productivity, improve breathing problems, of course, but also blood pressure and cortisol (stress hormone) levels, and even boost the immune system. Apparently, the positive effects of spending two days hiking in the woods can last for a month. Doesn’t that make you want to get outside and play?
Cognitive psychologist David Strayer hypothesizes that “being in nature allows the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s command centre, to dial down and rest, like an overused muscle.”
In Japan, scientists have found that people who spend time in nature—shinrin‑yoku or “forest bathing”—inhale “beneficial bacteria, plant-derived essential oils and negatively-charged ions,” which interact with gut bacteria to strengthen the body’s immune system and improve both mental and physical health.
Each time I get home from a walk in the forest, I feel energized and refreshed. Filling up on vitamin G, for Green, is a must for my mental health. What about you?
Like Chantal, fill up on vitamin G (Green) while supporting families touched by ALS and research.