We’re surrounded by white noise — TVs are constantly buzzing in the background of restaurants and bars, music emanates from your radio, computer or iPod, the cacophony of a car alarm or sirens outside of your window — all white noise. And among this discord, we’re trapped in a world full of schedules, deadlines, errands and anything else that makes us want to rip out our hair. Sometimes the plausible solution is to just hit the bar with friends and drink away stress or anxiety. But let’s face it, when the waitress brings the tab… you’re back to square one.
We live in a world in which we’re constantly looking for the next “big” thing and we sometimes forget that what we really need — what really grounds us — is right in front of us: nature. Before you automatically label this as a tree-hugging plea, thinking that you don’t have time to frolic with creatures prone to rabies or become mutilated from head to toe by an army of fire ants, hear me out: Just like a glass of aged wine or a good book, nature can give you back a piece of yourself that was lost while you were too busy searching for tomorrow.
Nature is free.
While “free” may be an unfamiliar concept, imagine being thoroughly entertained without paying $100. There might be an entrance fee here or there for national parks, but so what? There are plenty of areas where you can enjoy a siren-free expanse. Learn how to make the most of your surroundings, whether it’s walking, biking, running or photography. Embrace a new opportunity.
Gives you a challenge.
Nature can be an ongoing challenge. Find something that you enjoy and then test yourself. Use the outdoors as your training room and become the best person you can be, whether that includes hiking up a steep slope, running a long-distance trail or searching for the ideal light to snap an unforgettable portrait.
Doesn’t talk back.
We all know talk is cheap. The best part about embracing the outdoors is that you can be alone with your thoughts. You can listen to yourself, rather than listening to everyone else.
Being surrounding by people has its ups and downs. When you feel like you can no longer handle a reproachful look or don’t have the energy to keep up a high-fashion façade, escape to the outdoors. Do your thing. It’s not going to judge you for being yourself.
Puts you in your place.
If you’ve ever found yourself sitting on the highest peak in the Himalayas or drifting idly in the sea with an endless horizon, you should probably be in a movie. Regardless, the beauty and greatness that nature brings to one’s soul can often put a person in his or her place. It leads you to realize just how powerful your surroundings can be.
Makes you grateful.
As corny as it sounds, a picturesque sunset or a breath of crisp, fresh air can make you grateful to be alive. No matter how big or small your problems are, when you’re slapped in the face with raw beauty, you can’t help but be grateful for experiencing that moment.
Better than any gym.
Gyms are overpriced. When you’re running on a treadmill, your “scenic view” is probably limited to the sweat dripping down the back of the person in front of you. With nature, you’re free. You’re not confined. You actually get somewhere — you’re not stuck fighting over exercise machines.
Lets you find yourself.
Unless you’re with a group or a partner, nature forces you to confront your most intimate thoughts. If you let the serenity of the outdoors wash over you, you can sometimes learn things about yourself that you never knew. What are your endeavors? What are your greatest fears? Are you the person you want to be? If you find yourself unable to answers these questions, sometimes you might just need a nature walk with yourself to dive into the depths of who you are as a person.
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