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Nature Therapy

Updated: Mar 18, 2019

FINALLY! A beautiful sunny 70 degree day (in southern Illinois) occurred this week and I couldn't be happier to see signs of Spring. Did you know weather like this can be healing to humans?

Cold weather and I don't mix well due to it keeping me cooped up during the winter months and making life depressing.

The combination of a gorgeous day and getting off work early, I hit the road and went on an adventure to Ferne Clyffe Sate Park. I traveled to this park back in August to see a waterfall, but unfortunately it was dry.

This time around I was succesful. Wednesday night it poured, giving me no doubt the waterfall would be heavily flowing.

A little boy type of excitement overwhelmed me as soon I arrived, parked, and got out of my car. It felt SO good to feel the sun on my skin and to be encompassed by nature.

At one point I had taken my shoes off due to a large puddle too big to cross without getting wet. I remained barefoot the rest of the day, and oddly enough, the pain of walking on small rocks and sticks felt therapeutic. When I was younger, if I wasn't on the basketball court, chances are you could find me in the woods searching for newts and other critters. Thursday, I felt like that little kid again.

I share this journey with you as a sense of encouragement to make spending time outside a higher priority. The warm weather provides endless opportunities for you and your family / friends to do something joyful.

According to A Warm Heart and a Clear Head: The Contingent Effects of Weather on Mood and Cognition by Matthew C. Keller, Barbara L. Fredrickson, Oscar Ybarra, and additional contributors, pleasant weather improves mood and broadens cognition in the spring because people have been deprived of such weather during the winter. In addition, numerous studies have investigated Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which is characterized by recurrent depressive episodes, occurring typically in winter.

There's no doubt weather affects our mood and behavior. Prioritize your health, because without it life becomes limited. A simple way to care and treat yourself is by consuming nature; even if it requires a 45 minute car ride. Surrounding yourself with a beautiful landscape and absorbing the environment will be incomparably peaceful and rejuvenating.

Don't be that person who says they can't wait for summer during the winter then complains it's too hot once warm weather arrives! Enjoy the moment and enjoy your journey of life!


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