Nature has a way of bringing balance back into our lives. When we spend time in nature, our minds become clearer and we feel less stressed as a result. This is because spending time in nature helps to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and bring clarity to our thoughts.
Contact with nature has also been shown to increase self-discipline, decrease anxiety, and help us deal with stressors more effectively.
When we’re caught up in the stresses of everyday life — school assignments, work deadlines, home responsibilities — often the last thing on our minds is getting some fresh air and exploring the great outdoors.
But as anyone who’s ever experienced cabin fever during a long winter or felt the pangs of thirst for something different knows, there are benefits to unplugging from technology and reconnecting with nature. Read on to learn some very simple ways you can do so today!
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How to Reconnect With Nature
If you live in a big city, it can be easy to forget that nature even exists, but if you open the windows of your home, look out, and listen, you’ll find that the sounds of nature are all around you.
Want to connect with nature on a deeper level? You can find nature close to your home by going on a nature walk. If you’re lucky enough to live near a park, go there. If not, go to the nearest place you can find green space — maybe it’s a local river, a patch of forest, or even a nearby patch of wildflowers.
If you don’t have any green spaces nearby, go to a park near your house — if you don’t have a nearby park, go to the botanical gardens or even a local farmer’s market!
Take a Hike
When you take a hike, you have the chance to leave your worries behind. There’s something about the outdoors that’s inherently relaxing. Hiking is a great way to get fresh air and also to challenge yourself by pushing your limits.
Hiking is a great way to connect with nature and is suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels. You don’t need fancy hiking gear or an expensive membership to a gym; all you need is a pair of comfortable shoes, a bottle of water, and the determination to get outdoors and enjoy nature.
Go for a Walk
Walking is a great way to get outside, exercise, and connect with nature. Walking is one of the best ways to keep active, with many health benefits. It’s a low-impact exercise that’s suitable for people of all fitness levels.
Walking can help to lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and improve mental health, including reducing the risk of depression.
Watch the Sunrise or Sunset
Watching the sunrise or sunset is a great way to connect with nature and find inspiration. The sunrise is often a quiet and peaceful time, while the sunset is more likely to be filled with energy and beautiful hues.
As you watch the sunrise or sunset, focus on your breath and let your thoughts flow out. Let your worries go, and try to let go of negative thoughts as you sit and enjoy the view.
If you’ve ever been stargazing out in nature, you’ll know that it’s a truly special experience. There’s nothing like sitting under the stars and staring at the endless expanse of space.
Even if you don’t have a telescope, you can still go stargazing. Head to a nearby park, go to a local astronomy club meeting, or find a spot by a river where there are fewer lights nearby and see what you can see.
Ride a Bicycle
When you think of getting back to nature and disconnecting from the urban jungle, perhaps the first things that come to mind are camping, hiking, and chilling by a campfire. All of these activities involve spending time outdoors in natural settings; however, they aren’t the only ways to reconnect with nature. You can also get closer to nature by riding a bike!
And here’s some good news: Even if you don’t live near any green spaces or have any trails nearby, you can still go out and explore the great outdoors on your bike. All you need is an adventurous spirit, a trusty set of wheels, and somewhere scenic to ride them. Getting outside on your bicycle is one of the most exciting alternative ways to connect with nature.
We often take the things around us for granted. But when we are forced to confront the absence of something, we begin searching for it. For example, try going without your mobile phone for an extended period of time and you’ll start to realize how much you miss being connected to others and the world at large.
You don’t need a sprawling backyard or expensive landscaping services to make your home feel more like a natural escape than a concrete jungle. All you need is some open green space and something to grow: gardening.
You can tend to ornamental plants or grow your own vegetables. Either option can be easy to get started with, and immensely rewarding. You can use ready made planters or vases or get even more invested and make your own using reclaimed materials such as loading pallets. Get creative and get gardening!
Contradictory Wisdom: Apps for Finding Nature near You
So while I've been suggesting ways you can reconnect with nature, clearly one way is simply to disconnect. BUT: what if you can use your mobile device to help you reconnect with nature? There are apps that can help you find nature near you.
You can simply use Google Maps to search for natural areas nearby, such as parks, trails, and green spaces. If you are looking for something specific to your favourite outdoor pursuit, take a look at these apps:
Seek by iNaturalist - To record their discoveries, naturalists frequently carry notebooks and field guides. Join iNaturalist's community of online citizen scientists! Include details like the place and time of day you spotted the plant, bug, or animal in the photo you take.
Geocaching - Geocaching is a treasure hunt for people of all ages. Use the app to identify nearby 'caches' and instructions on how to find them. There are millions of them all over the world, but watch out, geocaching can be addictive!
Merlin Bird ID - "I wish I knew what it is!" is a frequent reaction upon seeing a bird. Download the Merlin Bird ID app to rapidly identify the species.
Star Walk 2 - Star Walk 2 allows you to identify constellations. This software utilizes your location to show stars and planets independent of cloud cover or light pollution, making it ideal for a night of camping and stargazing.
Then once you are out in nature, switch off your data!
While it’s important to be prepared with information such as the nearest hospital or how to report an emergency nearby, it’s also important to fully embrace the benefits of being out in nature. Let go of your worries and troubles, and truly experience the calm and peace of being in nature.
When we take time out of our busy schedules to connect with nature, our minds become clearer and we feel less stressed as a result. This is because spending time in nature helps to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and bring clarity to our thoughts.
Nature has also been shown to increase self-discipline, decrease anxiety, and help us deal with stressors more effectively. When we’re caught up in the stresses of everyday life — school assignments, work deadlines, home responsibilities — often the last thing on our minds is getting some fresh air and exploring the great outdoors.
But as anyone who’s ever experienced cabin fever during a long winter or felt the pangs of thirst for something different knows, there are benefits to unplugging from technology and reconnecting with nature.