At a recent conference on mental health and nature connectedness, I discovered that there is such a thing as fresh air philosophy – the belief that exposure to nature is good for our health and wellbeing. I’ve never heard it called that before, but, it’s definitely true for me. I always come back feeling good after spending time outdoors, especially in places with a lot of beauty and wild nature.
But as the days get shorter and darker in Autumn and Winter and as we get more and more sleepy, it’s not always easy to motivate ourselves for that walk in the park or the woods. And there are times when we don’t have the time to get out in nature, and free ourselves from our anxieties and stress. And that’s when we really need to!
And so this fresh air philosophy, that was applied to the Norwegian lifestyle, really resonated with me. This is where fresh air and connecting with nature is a daily necessity and a way of being. According to the 2017 World Happiness Report; Norway is the world’s happiest country, and it’s the traditional, nature-friendly outdoor recreation and freedom to roam that’s a lot to do with Norway claiming the top spot as the happiest country on Earth.
I’ve been thinking a lot about people’s preferences for nature and how not everyone is comforted by the same kind of nature. Some people have a deep connection with ‘blue space’, like being close to Galway Bay. Other people might have a strong relationship with ‘green space’, like being in big, open, green fields or under the canopy in Kilcornan Woods. I think, having access to a variety of ‘blue space’ and ‘green space’ is important.
Where do you feel most at peace in nature?
Where can you find contentment and sense of place?
And when you do find your heaven on earth, MAKE time for it! I know I’ll be making time for trees and woodlands this winter!
Feature image courtesy of Jeanne Sampier