It’s been a long day. Minuscule details are adding up, and I feel overwhelmed. When the weight of the world is upon my shoulders, I try to put my mind in reverse. I stop, take a deep breath and take myself far outside the city to a secluded trail. When I’m submersed in wildlife, my outlook immediately changes. Instead of feeling stressed from societal pressure, I stand strongly upon the earth with determination.
I believe everyone should dedicate more time to experiencing nature. Perched atop a bluff, waiting for the sunset to hit that sweet spot right above the horizon is rejuvenating. The harsh reds and yellows streaming through layers of purple clouds could make anyone’s heart melt with admiration for life.
“Nature makes me feel liberated and calm. I feel at peace with myself,” said Josh White, chemistry major and English international student. “My favorite things to look at in nature are the animals because they look joyful running around.”
The psychological impacts of stress can make us lose our senses of humor and feel constantly tired. Stress inducers include an overwhelming workload, financial issues and problems at home. Once you learn about your stress source, you may be able to make it manageable.
Stress not only has a negative impact on working adults, it also takes a toll on children.
“Almost a third of children reported that in the last month they had experienced a physical health symptom often associated with stress, such as headaches, stomach aches or trouble falling or staying asleep,” reported the American Psychology Association.
Parents may not realize that their stress carries over to their children. According to APA, while 69 percent of parents say their stress has only a slight or no impact on their children, only 14 percent of youth says their parents’ stress doesn’t bother them.
A shift in children’s playtime might be partly to blame. In the last two decades childhood has moved indoors. Daily, American children spend only 30 minutes in unstructured outdoor play and more than seven hours in front of electronic screens, according to the National Wildlife Federation .
The problem is that we are not slowing down. As a society we are not taking a step back to evaluate how we live. And, it’s not quite our fault. We’re only doing what we feel is necessary to survive.
There are also medical implications of stress, which has been proven to onset ADHD. According to the National Wildlife Federation, “The United States has become the largest consumer of ADHD medications; and pediatric prescriptions for antidepressants have risen precipitously.”
If we keep increasing ADHD prescriptions in an attempt to solve something that our technology has created, how will we progress? We ask too much of ourselves for the limited amount of time that we have on earth. The only way we can get closer to correcting our ways is by reverting to our roots.
Parents need to take their children outside because their bodies, minds and spirits depend on nature. Exposure to natural environments may be proactive in reducing ADHD symptoms. According to National Wildlife Federation, play protects children’s emotional development whereas loss of free time and a hurried lifestyle can contribute to anxiety and depression. Nature makes you feel nicer and encourages healthy interactions while building a stronger community; proof of the restorative power in nature.
If you’ve ever listened to the birds and the whooshing of the wind through illuminated leaves, then you have experienced centered awareness. Centered awareness is when perception of one’s self feels aligned in accordance with the way things are created. It’s an acceptance of living in the present.
Have you ever wondered what the famous saying “stop to smell the roses” really means? There’s a reason why you should take five minutes to use your senses. When I smell different scents of roses, I feel my happiness level heighten. Take time to look at a tree longer than you would normally, and you’ll feel more concentrated and centered. Stroll into the wilderness and leave behind the strains of daily life. Take time to replenish and experience a calming sensation you’ve been lacking. It’s time to cope with stressors and befriend yourself. Above all stop to smell the roses.