I’m walking, barefoot, along the shoreline, breathing in the fresh air. The sun is still low on the horizon. The day ahead still full of possibilities. I get to the end of the beach, and run straight into the ocean. It’s freezing but so exhilarating. The cold water makes my heart rate speed up.
And then I relax, and start flowing with the waves.
In that moment, I feel completely at one with Nature. To me, that is joy in its purest form.
I’m sure you have experienced a similar feeling of bliss. Whether it was during an ocean swim, a mountain hike, a walk through the forest, or even just a nap in the park. It doesn’t need to be epic. It’s just about feeling that connection with Nature.
But what is it about the outdoors, that keeps drawing us in?
Being outdoors awakens our senses
Most of us live in insulated houses or apartments. These man-made structures keep us safe and sheltered, but they also keep us separate from our environment. There is no real need to pause, slow down, and align with the natural cycles anymore.
Inside our homes, we can control the temperature and keep the light on until well past sunset. We can use apps on our phone to check what the weather is like ‘out there’. We can live life fast, efficiently.
But when we get back into Nature, we become more aware. We learn to listen, feel, wonder again. We re-discover simple joys like smelling the scent of wet grass, feeling the temperature drop on the way to a summit, or swimming into a warm ocean current.
Nature brings us back into the present moment
Nature has the power to anchor us into the Now. When we immerse ourselves into the outdoors, we are somehow given permission to stop and just be. We become human beings again. Free from the constant quest, the constant pressure of doing.
For a brief moment, our minds stop racing and we just enjoy what’s unfolding in that exact moment without worrying about the past or stressing about the future.
The vastness of the great outdoors puts our problems into perspective
Clouds are too high for us to reach. Trees and rocks will outlive all of us. Ocean waves and fires can destroy even the strongest man-made structures.
Experiencing the scale and vastness of the great outdoors makes us realize that after all, we’re only tiny humans. This shift in perspective can be a relief because it reminds us how insignificant our ‘human-world’ problems are.
Nature makes us feel more connected
We are born wired for connection. Nowadays, many of us live in crowded cities, surrounded by thousands of other humans, yet so many of us feel isolated and lonely.
Getting into Nature can help us reconnect with our surroundings. We get to experience that feeling of belonging that we all deeply crave. It also creates space for us to reconnect with our true selves, an essential prerequisite for forming genuine relationships with the people around us, so we can turn our crowded cities into supporting communities.