A Walk in Nature

Recently I’ve added a walk to my daily routine during the work week. I’ve been noticing the different ways that people approach “taking a walk.” Some are focused with a serious stride; others are out for an easy stroll. I see many people with ear buds listening, I imagine, to music, a book or podcast. Some are alone and others are in pairs or small groups. Of course it all depends on the intention and goals of the walker.

Spring is bursting with the energy of buds and blooms, birdsong and children laughing and running, rain and sunshine. Taking the time to be in nature can increase your own sense of renewed energy and creativity. An introvert at heart, I adore a long, solitary walk by the river or through the trees when we’re up at the lake. The sounds of my footsteps on moss and leaves, water rushing over the weir, rustling trees and birds flitting through branches, the rich smells of earth and composting forest floor …after an hour of immersing myself in nature, I often find myself in a relaxed, calm and creative frame of mind. Research clearly shows that the closer we are to nature, the happier we feel.

Why should you consider taking more walks in nature?

  • It has a host of mental health benefits such as decreased depression, improved well-being, and lower perceived stress. Brisk walking boosts endorphins, the feel-good hormones that improve your mood and lower stress and mild depression. Walking gives you more energy, which also improves your positive feelings.
  • It can increase attention and sense of happiness as aspects of the natural world can be very soothing and help to lift our moods.
  • It is a simple and active mindfulness practice that promotes being present. Walking through green spaces can put the brain into a meditative state, where you are able to pay attention to the world around you, while creating the calmness needed for reflection. It’s in this calm, quiet reflective state where our creativity can flourish.
  • It provides exercise and can help you keep in shape.