The sadness of disconnection from nature

I have always loved nature.  As a child my family did not have much money so summer holidays were spent playing by Pendle Waters in Lancashire (under the supervision of grandad) or walking in the woods, or around Pendle Hill.  We were happy: a few pebbles by the river would become our 'pirate island' and a whirlpool, a 'fairy kingdom'.  The waters were a wealth of wildlife, all familiar to us.  In spring we would make daisy chains, and gather armfuls of bluebells (no longer allowed), in summer we would spend ages looking for a four-leaf clover (grandad knew how to keep us quiet!!) and in autumn we would gather blackberries and make pictures out of acorns, beechnuts and hazelnuts.  In winter the snow provided endless fun.

So, it is with great sadness that I learned that the Oxford Junior Dictionary has dropped words like 'acorn' and 'buttercup' in favour of 'broadband' and 'cut and paste'.

It is my firm belief that children and adults need to connect with nature for physical and mental wellbeing. The colour green is not only pleasing to the eye but creates calmness and relaxation, reducing stress, anxiety and depression. It balances your emotions and promotes self-acceptance. Since stress is at the root of many illnesses such as tension headaches, IBS, skin problems, reduced immunity and even cardiovascular disease, it really is worth making the effort seek out green spaces. Even cities have parks or other green spaces so try to get out in your lunch hour, after work or on your days off.  If you need company, join a walking group.

Here are some more benefits of getting out in nature:-
  • Exposure to natural daylight helps regulate your sleep/wake cycle so that you sleep better. This is because melatonin production is controlled by light and melatonin regulates your sleep/wake cycle.
  • Getting out in nature helps regulate your weight!  Aside from the fact that you are getting more exercise, the fact that you sleep better means that you produce less ghrelin, the hormone that has you reaching for the biscuit tin!  Another hormone leptin is produced in larger amounts with better sleep and this hormone suppresses appetite.
  • Exposure to natural daylight boosts your vitamin D levels.  See for the benefits of vitamin d.
  • Getting out in nature restores your mental clarity
  • When we feel connected to nature, we care more about what happens to our planet.
  • We are all connected in this 'circle of life'. Think of the bees. If the bees disappear (and they are declining) much of our food would disappear too. In fact Einstein claimed that we would only survive for four years.

What I love most about being out in nature is that it changes almost on a daily basis and you feel the natural rhythm of the seasons. So don't simply rely on shop window displays in order to know what season it is!  You never know, you might develop a passion for birds, wild flowers or other wildlife.

Happy days!
Janet x

Article Copyright © 2015 40plusandalliswell

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