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03/02/21 Written by Jana Asic

In these modern times it’s very easy to fall into a vicious cycle that breaks our spirit, messes up our physical stability and even more so, our mental stability. Our lives have become more and more sedentary, because we do most of our work on computers. There’s less and less time to eat healthy meals, take time to exercise and calm our spirits. Stressful jobs, school pressure, convenient tv schedules, accessibility of the internet are all getting in the way of our wellbeing. I believe most people don’t realize or appreciate the impact nature has on our health. Spring is on the horizon, bringing beautiful blooming blossoms, incredible rosy smell and light breezes that awaken our inner peace, pristine happiness and bring the realization that we need to appreciate the small things in life. 

Learning from the past…

In times of antiquity the power of nature was well known. People exhausted of hard labour and young women who were trying to start a family were sent to gardens to improve their health. We should learn from them and all take the time to stroll through forests, appreciate the beauty of gardens and learn to take a breather from all of the fuss that our technologically oriented world has brought upon us. 

Therapy with plants is also known as a powerful tool that meets our physical, mental, social and spiritual needs. It is a known fact that people who spend more time outdoors are healthier, have greater focus at work and therefore deliver results much faster. A study by doctor Ulrich in 1984 has proven that nature has a significant impact on our state of mind and health. The study has shown that patients whom had had a good view of the outside had recovered 70% faster than those with a view of other nearby buildings or other artificial sites. It also proved that patients not only recovered faster but also stayed healthy for longer periods of time.

Nature and our senses…

The lesson here is that us, humans are creatures of nature and we should not take that for granted. Just being surrounded by plants we strengthen our senses. For example, a sense of smell that has a potent connection with our memories and has the power to take us back to our most beloved childhood memories and events. It literally awakens a part of our past just by connecting our stimulus, perception and drags out long forgotten memories. Plants affect hearing that clears our thoughts and calms us down. Just imagine a summer’s day when a soft breeze floats through trees and grass and how good it feels to hear that with singing crickets. Or the taste, when we get to try out the marvelous fruits grown from the most delicate flower blossoms. Not to mention the touch, when we differentiate textures and shapes. 

Grow your own…

Can you recall those feelings of pride and gratitude with the germination and growth of the plant whose seeds you planted gently and carefully and it transforms into awe-inspiring living thing. Working with plants greatly improves our memories, helps with insomnia and makes us literally more “down to earth” by appreciating earth, soil and its effects on boosting the transformation and growth. 

As a student of landscape architecture I’ve grown to be more aware of the importance and role of nature and plants for our planet as well as ourselves and our wellbeing. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – let’s take more time for discovering nature, because there lies our origin. Just 30 min a day in nature can radically improve our health and prosperity. I, myself, go for a walk in the forest as much as possible. I try to paint outside every now and then  and  sometimes I “zoom” in from our garden and when the class is over, I exercise in our backyard. Exercise in nature is far better than indoors. All you need is a mat and a nice, quiet spot in nature, where you can clear your mind, focus on the task at hand and escape your daily life overrun by technology, stress and responsibilities. 

From me nature is always my getaway and my rescue. I find my purpose there and it guides me through tough times as well as providing wonderful memories, giving me positive energy and never ceases to inspire me. Go out, plant a seed and watch it grow. Meanwhile observe your state of mind, excitement you get waiting for it to blossom and the feeling of self-worth by ensuring the growth of something so pure. It is absolutely amazing how little it takes and how much we gain from it. I always say that plants have their unique charms that inspire and bring people together and that’s why we need to protect them and take care of them on our daily basis.

You want to know the secret to building a strong mentality? Go out, explore nature, breathe in the fresh air and exercise. There is a reason why people are so keen on escaping the hustle and bustle of city life for a relaxing countryside holiday. Our truth, our purpose and our origin lies in nature.So, why not try to create a little nature oasis at home and fill our backyards and windows with flowers and greenery so that we can retreat into nature as often as possible. 

Categories: Mental Health

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