The morning sunrise, a mountain vista, palm trees swaying in the breeze, birds swooping in the sky, billowing clouds, the deep orange-reds of a sunset … what wonder of Nature do you like to look at? Whatever it is, look at it more often.
According to Scientific American MIND (January/February 2015), studies show that gazing at the great outdoors offers a wide range of benefits, including, “pain relief, stress recovery and mood improvement.” And, most recently discovered by researchers at Utah State University, looking at nature makes us think more about the future, which reduces the impulse for instant gratification.
Consider how you actually feel when you are communing with nature. For me, I am always calmed and often inspired, my thoughts are clearer, more visionary and imaginative, whether I am looking out at the sea of blue in Hawaii or watching hummingbirds gather to bathe in my backyard fountain in the Sonoran Desert. In my new book, Your Journal Companion, I invite readers to explore writing outdoors because of the expansive thinking it incites.
SA MIND also says that even looking at pictures of beautiful vistas on your computer offer cognitive benefits. So, if something is troubling you and you need a stress reliever, or you are working to change a behavior that wants instant gratification … like eating sweets … why not open your laptop photos and look at a lovely scene.
Better yet, go outdoors with your journal, sit down, breathe deeply, give your attention to one of nature’s delights, and then let yourself write about what concerns you. Multiple benefits await you!
I just love it when science affirms something we gravitate to intuitively.