I live in the Washington, DC area in Northern Virginia. I recently drove from Dallas back to Virginia and had the beautiful opportunity to drive through the Shenandoah Valley. If you’ve never been there, it is a treat you must indulge in at some time in your life. As I drove, I was overtaken by the beauty of the mountains and the various depths of green found in the grass and on the trees. I found myself driving slower so that I could take it all in.
Much is stressful in my life right now, but this drive helped. There is something unmistakably calming about experiencing nature. Studies confirm that physical and emotional health is strengthened by being in nature. “Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. It may even reduce mortality, according to scientists such as public health researchers Stamatakis and Mitchell.”
“One of the most intriguing areas of current research is the impact of nature on general wellbeing. In one study in Mind, 95% of those interviewed said their mood improved after spending time outside, changing from depressed, stressed, and anxious to more calm and balanced.”
Nature also connects us with our world. It gives us a sense of belonging and reminds us we are not alone.
Unfortunately, being stuck in front of screens (tv, computer or phone) has the opposite effect. Studies show that this can lead to depression.
So, get out and see nature!
If you don’t have time right this minute, I offer some photos of beautiful Shenandoah Valley. (Disclosure: these are stock photos found online, I did not take these personally).