Believe it or not, human beings live in a very sanitized environment. No animal was designed to live amid concrete walls, blocking out noises or being exposed to noises of our own creation. We weren’t supposed to cook food in vessels, refrigerate our meals, or eat them at odd times. In fact, as diurnal creatures, we should sleep when the sun sets and wake up when it rises!
In fact, as diurnal creatures, we should sleep when the sun sets and wake up when it rises! Yet, none of us can spend too much time disengaged from the present lifestyle. Science suggests that it is what we may need in order to lead a more fulfilling life.1
Being out in nature is an excellent cure for anxiety. In fact, most of the anxiety in our daily life comes from the construct of time. Being in nature helps us see the bigger picture. That said, you cannot run off to the forest every time you feel anxious, so here are a few other activities that will calm you down.
The most basic benefit of exercising is in speeding up the heart and improving circulation. However, doing so in fresh air helps you get more oxygen, feel refreshed, and spend some time among the birds. Think about it – when was the last time you heard the birds sing? Walking is a simple activity that prompts you to be outdoors and calm your nerves while you’re there.2
What’s nature without the flora and fauna? Have some flora around and the fauna will follow. You don’t need huge spaces for building a garden – you can do it on your balcony as well. Just get a few planters, plant your favorite vegetables or flowering plants and sit back.3 You can add a bird feeder to your balcony to encourage birds to visit and keep pests away. You can also consider adding plants such as Bryophyllum to encourage butterfly visits.
3. Observing Nature
If you have a small park nearby, there is no blessing quite like it! You don’t have to do anything to enjoy the benefits of nature. Just being present, observing the happenings around you, and appreciating them can put you in a more balanced plane. For example, just sit back and look at the worker ants walking by in a line. Where are they going? Looking at things in nature helps you gain a broader perspective on your own life.4
4. Staying Away From Technology
Technology has become our way of life these days without which we do not seem to function. A morning update on Facebook, a small tweet to a friend, or just a regular swipe through of Instagram has become our daily rituals. Whether or not these practices are actually of any use to us is another topic entirely.
Being so immersed in technology, we forget to appreciate the natural world. So, resist the urge to take your phones or camera with you when you step out. A selfie amongst nature and an Instagram update will not allow you to fully experience the present moment. At best, technology is a distraction.
Nature takes our attention away from our own problems. After spending a few minutes outside, people with work-related stress are able to concentrate better, finish the job on hand, and feel less anxious overall.5
In any case, observing nature is a welcome break from the information overload our screens dump on us every single day. It helps us process our thoughts better and puts us in a pleasant frame of mind.
|↑1||St Leger, Lawrence. “Health and nature—new challenges for health promotion.” (2003): 173-175.|
|↑2||Exercise for Stress and Anxiety. Anxiety and Depression Association of America.|
|↑3||Van Den Berg, Agnes E., and Mariëtte HG Custers. “Gardening promotes neuroendocrine and effective restoration from stress.” Journal of Health Psychology 16, no. 1 (2011): 3-11.|
|↑4||How Does Nature Impact Our Wellbeing? University Of Minnesota.|
|↑5||How Does Nature Impact Our Wellbeing? University Of Minnesota.|