Today’s morning is beautiful. After a stormy week, sunshine is back to London. Putting my jacket on, I step out of my house for a regular 30-min morning walk. I’ve been able to keep this little habit for more than a year now, which no doubt has significantly improved the quality of my life. Early in the morning, the air is so fresh, the roads are quiet, and the park is just so peaceful and chilling.
By chance yesterday I listened to a podcast episode – an interview between Ali Abdaal and Dr Tara Swart. There's a question Ali asks Tara: “What is it about Nature that is so beneficial for us?” Yes, I know what you’re thinking: it’s kind of silly question, right?
But here, walking in the sun, surrounded by squirrels, crows, pigeons, and even worms, and of course, trees - hundreds of trees, I find myself pondering that question again.
“What is it about Nature that is so beneficial to us?”
1. A sense of calmness inside
Immersing in Nature can calm your nerves, lower your heart beats, and make you be in the present much more.
Part of it can be attributable to less distraction: no traffic noise, no steering in the crowd avoiding people, and if you’re really for it, no screen time as well (this one is quite hard for young people nowadays. Look at how they walk while staring on their phone all the time).
But I guess more importantly, it’s also because of a very unique sense of wholeness, in which different stages of life just appear in front of your eyes at the same time, in the same frame.
Look at the photo I took not only ago near my place:
Can you see how the greens, the blossoming, can be just next to the yellow and dark brown of the old, dry and dying.
All is there, interweaving and intertwining in this circle of life - as it’s always been, for thousands of years.
Just like growing up, being mature, getting old, and dying.
2. A quiet mind
I think immersing yourself in Nature is also a form of meditation. Yes, sometimes I still look down and be completely deep in thought/worry (especially if there’s an important even that’s about to happen).
But most of the times when I walk in Nature, I find myself looking curiously at things, such as:
how the little squirrel is busying himself preparing for the winter,
how the birds seem to be much more relaxed with their daily bread supplied,
and how the worms seem to definitely enjoy the journey, as (I guess) they don’t even think about their destination.
And when you keep that curiosity, your mind seems not to be able to dominate anymore.
Now it serves you in the discovery of Nature, instead of controlling your life.
3. A source of creativity
This one, to be honest with you, seems to be unexplainable. But, I guess it’s because we will never be able to explain creativity:
Most of my ideas for writing come from these walks in Nature, when there’s no pen and paper, and especially when I have no purpose of writing at all.
I guess that’s why Nietzsche said: “Only ideas won by walking have any value”
In this modern world, often we have a to-do list long enough to consume us until the 25th hour of the day.
And sometimes it's really hard to turn off your laptop, while the 30 opening tabs keep screaming for your attention.
But, I hope, you will remember: