Connecting to Nature

Spending time in nature brings many benefits including improved physical and mental health, enhanced creativity and a greater sense of connection and belonging.

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Nature has long been my greatest source of inspiration. It feeds my soul at the deepest levels and nurtures my sense of connection with all that is. In the process, immersion in the natural world boosts my creativity and inspires my writing to flow like the chattering stream endlessly coursing over and around the rocks in its path.

Researchers have discovered an impressive 50% boost in creativity and higher levels of insight and problem solving in people who’d spent extended periods of time in nature.

A practice developed in Japan in the 1980s known as “forest bathing”, that involves walking in a natural area in a relaxed way, has become a key element of preventive health care in Japanese medicine. Japan and South Korea have established strong body of scientific literature on the health benefits of spending time under the canopy of a living forest. Besides boosting the immune system this practice reduces blood pressure and stress, improves mood, increases the ability to focus, even in children with ADHD, accelerates recovery from surgery or illness, increases energy level and improves sleep.

Medical doctors in the United States have begun prescribing Vitamin N (time in nature). Agencies like the National Park Service, in their urban parks, have set up trails to support people in spending this healing time outdoors. Nature therapy is a growing field.

In my own work as a writing teacher and life and creativity coach doing nature retreats I have found that people have more profound insights and shifts than when we work solely indoors. People relax and open up more readily in the peace and beauty of the natural world. The use of their senses as well as being more present in the moment expands, which is a key element in opening more fully to creative expression.

With our increasing reliance on technology spending time unplugged in nature can enhance our health, our minds, our ability to contribute to the world.

It can start as simply as going outside finding a patch of grass and taking off your shoes. Feel the moist earth under your feet and relax into it. Go sit in a garden. Simply looking out the window at nature has been shown to help. Grow lettuce in a planter on your patio. Go for a walk in nature and see if you don't feel some of the tension of daily life dropping away. And use your imagination. How can you connect to nature, how can you help her?

I will be offering Nature Retreats later in the year. Stay tuned.