Being one with nature, or experiencing the wilderness without the distractions of media and electronics, is something that doesn’t happen too often in today’s culture. When was the last time you put your phone away, walked outside and looked introspectively at your life and the world around you? This Earth Day, take time to appreciate the tranquility and calmness of the great outdoors.
Discover the benefits of a nature walk
Sometimes we need more than modern medicine to help us feel better. Being anxious is pretty common, but a walk with nature can help clear your mind from many distractions.
A study conducted by Gregory Bratman, of Stanford University’s School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences, showed that people who took a 90-minute nature walk, versus those who walked 90 minutes in an urban environment, had a decrease in rumination, or compulsive focus on stressors in one’s life. In other words, it showed that exposure to nature can help decrease depressive thoughts.
Natural landscapes are restorative and medicinal, and nature walks may seem like an obvious solution to one’s day-to-day struggles. However, an increase in urban migration, with more than half the world’s population living in cities, only amplifies the need for people to take time to actually go out and experience nature.
What to do when you’re one with nature
There’s no set rulebook on nature walks, but there are some common things you can do to help you make the most of the experience.
1. Find a place that allows self-reflection.
You want to get as much out of any experience, and a nature walk is no different. Find a park, trail or field where you feel comfortable walking.
2. Walk in silence and disconnect.
Talking on the phone will only distract you from nature. Remain silent and tune out distractions.
3. Listen to the sounds around you.
Instead of hearing keyboard clicks and chatter about politics, focus on birds chirping or the crunching of dirt under your feet.
4. Have fun.
A nature walk doesn’t have to be solemn or boring to be rejuvenating. Take a camera, book or pen and paper with you. Let your inner child have fun and do what you want to do.
Find a park and get walking
There are plenty of parks across the nation where you can disengage from your daily life. From city parks to national forests, you have plenty of options to choose from. If you need help finding somewhere to have your nature walk, then check out some of our suggestions below:
• Estero Llando Grande State Park in Weslaco, Texas – Part of the World Birding Center, the park features ranger program walks that focus on birds, butterflies and dragonflies.
• Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland, California – With a winding path through redwood groves into oak woodlands, the Sequoia-Bayview Trail at Joaquin Miller Park is perfect for those who want to immerse themselves in luscious greenery.
• Mount Misery, Lincoln Conservation Land in Lincoln, Massachusetts – If you want to walk in the footsteps of Henry David Thoreau, then look no further. Mount Misery features a shaded hemlock forest, open marsh and sights of wildlife.
These are just five out of hundreds of parks across the nation where you can let your problems go while on a nature walk through the great outdoors. Now that you’re ready, put away your work and start walking.