Nature as Medicine
We live in interesting times. The modern era is one in which we are more consistently connected, entertained, and empowered by technology than ever, but at the same time, these powerful tools come with a personal cost that’s easy to overlook.
Our ability to focus has become frazzled, and there’s perhaps never been more social comparison and psychological pressure that cannot help but affect how we perceive ourselves. There’s nothing inherently good or bad about using technology all but required to function as a modern adult, but efforts must be made to maintain a healthy balance between digital and natural spaces.
At LIVSN, we believe intentional time spent in nature can serve as an effective counterweight—both physically and mentally—against unhealthy habits that can drag even the best of us down into disarray.
It’s unrealistic to make sweeping claims and forsake technology, but by making a conscious effort each day, we can forge a more balanced relationship between nature and technology that better serves our mental and physical well-being.
Give Your Brain a Break
These days we ask an awful lot of our brains to process on a daily basis. While physical self-care has become more common in recent years, we don’t always extend the same level of care to our mental state.
Even a short amount of time spent in nature yields powerful results which continue long after we’ve left the outdoors. An enhanced working memory, steady attention span, and a general lowering of cortisol levels are just some of the benefits studies show that follow time spent in nature.
To take it a step further, you can experiment with going into nature without connected technology like phones, or alternatively, with those devices turned off to external notifications. Even a brief bubble period can be just what the brain needs, and taking the time to create this space in your schedule is an investment that pays off immediately.
Breaking the constant dopamine cycle of digital notifications by going into nature gives our brain a chance to rest, reset, and when we return to our daily life, a renewed sense of focus and mental clarity.
How Nature Refreshes the Rest of our Body
Time spent out in nature isn't just mental but has a strong physical connection and benefits as well. While some aspects of exercise can be replicated in an indoor setting, there are factors like sunlight and the sheer variability of nature that makes it uniquely beneficial compared to a static gym setting.
Depending on how you like to spend your time in nature, this time can be a restorative experience like a short walk or stretching out over a soft patch of grass. The simple act of being in sunlight can improve everything from your immune system’s strength to more regular sleeping patterns.
Others might prefer a more strenuous activity like biking, climbing, or swimming which causes the heart rate to spike and natural amounts of dopamine to be released while we shed sweat and stress.
Both have their place and strengths and depending on your daily structure and needs can fit into where you need them most. No matter what you do once you are out in nature, every minute matters and has a positive effect upon our overall well-being.
Pausing for the Present Moment
Once out in nature, it becomes far easier to pause and simply stay in the present moment. There are still stimuli abound, everything from scurrying animals to changing weather patterns, but these can be simply observed and don’t require any particular action to enjoy or obligation to respond.
In normal urban life, it’s rare for us to have this kind of time, and it can be difficult to give ourselves time and space to simply be. We constantly think of what happened in the past, what might come in the future, and it’s easy to lose the present moment when taking these large-scope views. There’s much to be learned from the past, and preparing for the future is a worthy investment, but lingering too long and often on these thoughts can leave us mentally exhausted.
Once out in nature, relatively disconnected, it’s far easier to simply pause and be present for the moment. Our immediate needs become more narrow and simple, follow the trail, ensure your next step is secure, and maintain healthy breath.
As complex as the world and ourselves can become when we are tangled up with technology and never-ending thoughts, many find a profound sense of relief in momentarily reducing their responsibilities to simple tasks with clear outcomes.
Why Nature as Medicine Works
Nature can serve so many purposes for us, whether it’s pushing us to our physical limits or simply being a safe place to rest and appreciate our surroundings and circumstances. Time spent in nature isn’t merely for leisure, but a proven path to offset the restlessness excessive technology can create.
By cultivating a personal awareness—and knowing when it’s time to unplug and venture out—you give yourself one of the oldest, most effective tools to help your physical, mental, and emotional self find and maintain a healthy balance with the world at large.