Why we need to Reconnect with Nature

Oh the irony…

in a world where we are more “connected” than ever before, we are feeling increasingly “disconnected” in life.

It takes only 15 min in nature to cause positive physiological changes in your body - lowers stress hormone levels, lowers blood pressure and lowers heart rate - so why are we not outside more?

It’s hard to overstate how much good being in nature does for our well-being: Study after study documents the psychological and physical benefits of connecting with nature. People who are more connected with nature are happier, feel more vital, and have more meaning in their lives. 

We are more connected than ever before through our smartphone, the internet, instant messaging and social media. Yet the technology that was supposed to connect us and bring us closer together actually seems to be having the reverse effect. The increase in ‘connection’ seems to be resulting in a parallel increase in ‘disconnection’.

‘Never in human history have our brains had to work with so much information as they do today… We have a generation of people who are so busy processing the information received from all directions that they are losing the ability to think and feel.’ – American psychiatrist Edward Hallowell

Social media encourages one-way communication. Status updates and shout-outs, overloading and oversharing of personal information and make us look ‘good’ but feel ‘bad’, and add very little of actual value to our lives.

In reality, our actual conversations tend to be brief, fleeting and superficial. A quick scan of any café, restaurant, bus, train or footpath will suggest we’re more interested in what is happening on our screens than in the people next to us.

Everything in nature happens slowly, gradually and without a struggle. Nature is never in the rush and always gets everything done. To connect with nature we have to leave our neck-breaking pace of life behind, learn how to slow down and dive into a present moment.

A 15-minute walk in nature causes measurable changes in physiology. Japanese researchers led by Yoshifumi Miyazaki at Chiba University sent 84 subjects to stroll in seven different forests, while the same number of volunteers walked around city centers. The forest walkers hit a relaxation jackpot: Overall they showed a 16 percent decrease in the stress hormone cortisol, a 2 percent drop in blood pressure, and a 4 percent drop in heart rate. Miyazaki believes our bodies relax in pleasant, natural surroundings because they evolved there. Our senses are adapted to interpret in- formation about plants and streams, he says, not traffic and high-rises.

Stephen Kaplan and his colleagues found that a 50-minute walk in an arboretum improved executive attention skills, such as short-term memory, while walking along a city street did not. “Imagine a therapy that had no known side effects, was readily available, and could improve your cognitive functioning at zero cost,” the researchers wrote in their paper. It exists, they continued, and it’s called “interacting with nature.”

Mother Nature gratifies all of our five senses, all we have to do is to tune in and reconnect. 

So what are you waiting for? 

You can reconnect with nature on a FREE Off The Grid 365 walk.


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