I was reading and article on the internet, from the New York Times, written by Gretchen Reynolds. It is entitled “How Walking in Nature Changes the Brain.” I will quote some of the article,
“A walk in the park may soothe the mind and, in the process, change the workings of our brains in ways that improve our mental health, according to an interesting new study of the physical effects on the brain of visiting nature.
City dwellers also have a higher risk for anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses than people living outside urban centers, studies show.
Volunteers who had strolled along the quiet, tree-lined paths showed slight but meaningful improvements in their mental health, according to their scores on a questionnaire. They were not dwelling on the negative aspects of their lives as much as they had been before the walk. They were allowed to walk at their own pace. As might have been expected, walking along the highway had not soothed people’s minds.
Most of us today live in cities and spend far less time outside in green, natural spaces than people did several generations ago.”
Thank you Gretchen Reynolds for this article. I agree with this article.
In Psalm 23 I read,
The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful waters. (Psalms 23:1-2 NLT)
I lived in a town house when our children were small. I grew up in the country and I longed to live again in the country. I dreamed of my children putting on their Wellington boots and going out to play in nature in all kinds of weather, as I did when I was growing up.
Being in the town had more benefits for our family at that stage. The schools, post office, shops, library, swimming pool, dentist, medical centre and friends lived nearby. Driving my children to school, or to the shops would have added stress to our already busy lives. I was at peace and realised living in the town was the best thing for us then.
Before we had a car Brendan and I always took our children on walks along the river or into a forest, nearby. When our family increased we went for drives to the beach or other beauty sites a little further away. Everyone piled into our minibus and headed out for a drive after tea or on a Saturday to enjoy nature. We returned tired, refreshed and had a good night’s sleep.
Being in the middle of nature did lift any stress we or our children were under. Any bad feelings or attitudes were forgotten as the children played together. Brendan knew what would do us all good. No need for headache tablets or Prozac for us.
Brendan and I now live in the country, beside a forest and the sea. We have a double portion of nature. Each time Brendan and I would take a walk for a mile along the foreshore we see something new. One evening we saw six large storks that rose up from their feeding places as we walked along. Their big wings flapped like skirts and they screeched, because they were unsettled from their feeding positions. Never mind we had a wonderful display.
Another time I noticed something stir in the shallow water off the shore. Air bubbled to the surface. Was there a whale or dolphin out there. No, three divers came to the surface. It is a popular spot to explore wrecks of ships out in the bay. A seal swam in the water along side as we walked by another time. Every evening there is a beautiful sky as the sun shines through the clouds at sunset.
We went for a walk along Barhill Rd, a National Trust property one Saturday evening. Not many people know about it. A lane took us to open ground beside a near a newly sown corn field. We saw six hares play together in the evening sun. The path continued down to the sea. We walked along a bar made from stones throw up by decades of sea waves. Across from us on an island lay many fat seals, safe from an intrusion. We rested a while, amazed. “How Great Thou Art”
Brendan and I are certainly enjoying nature and our minds and moods are being changed by the healing environment where we live. Our souls are being restored.
Yes I recommend old and young getting out in nature for a walk. You will be surprised by the show God puts on for you. You can listen to the music of birds, leaves, wind and waves. Your eyes will see life around you.
Nature declares the Glory of God!