The Power of Nature
– Love Yourself Series
It is very tough to wake up early and go on a hike to see sunrise or nature in its best light. As a photographer who previously photographed professionally portraits, weddings, quinceñeras, and other events, my favorite type of photography was that of capturing nature. Sometimes just the process of leaving early in the morning, fighting the urge to slip back within the comforting caress of a warm soft bed is a battle. But I can tell you without any hesitation that I have never regretted waking up early to venture out into nature. Even if I didn’t get any great shots, which is rare, because of that beautiful light, I would still feel the euphoria of being up early in the solace of the early morning when nature comes alive in its unabashed glory.
However, being in nature appeals to deeper instincts within us that affect our mindset, our creative wheels, releasing our mental faculties to function without the constant noise. In a 2012 study, a scientist by the name of Strayer, found that given our environment plays an important role in how we function mentally and intuitively, exposure to nature increased our ability to function cognitively and creatively, including our problem solving skills. He found that there is a unique effect of being immersed in a natural setting on our mental capacity.
But nature does more. In a 2015 study by Gregory Bratman, of Stanford University, he found that those who walked in nature experienced less anxiety, rumination (focused attention on negative aspects of oneself), and negative affect, as well as more positive emotions, in comparison to the urban walkers. There are numerous studies that support the positive effects on a person’s perspective and outlook towards life.
From experience I can tell you that I experience an exhilaration from my encounters with nature. When you are in nature, for example when I am kayaking, you have to stop thinking about worrisome thoughts and pay attention for your very survival. Nature with its beauty brings threats which require you to be attentive and alert in your surroundings. This state of being is what allows us to escape the noise of modern life.
This removal from negative thoughts into basic instinctive almost primeval state is what fosters the removal of stressful weights of life, the relentless schedule of making a living, a social life, preserving status, impressing others and so on. All this is discarded allowing room for unrestrained unprescribed thinking. When I return home, I am tired physically but mentally refreshed.
Nature with its innocent routine devoid of ego, conflicts of personalities, goes about business as usual without judgement. It is an environment that appeals to your better “nature”. It reminds you of the need to embrace life more fondly. A healthier state of mind fosters self appreciation which is the root of self love and a more robust and resilient self esteem.
Try it. Wake up early. Go for a walk in the park, by the beach, near a lake. Experience the company of birds, animals, the sounds of nature, the pleasant natural order of life. Bathe in this and feel your heart swell. Do it alone. Do it with your loved one, with your family, just do it regularly for the love or you! It works! Science says so.