Reading your comments on the last letter’s theme of ‘lost’, reminded me of a friend who was a pilot. There was a saying among his fellow pilots, at that time, which went: “Man is not lost…..he is just uncertain of his position.”!!
Given the time of year and the fact that you are on your travels, and therefore not desk-bound in the office, today we are going to look at O for Outdoors!
At this time of year in the UK, as we move through Spring and into Summer, with the increasingly lighter evenings, we have more inclination to go outdoors, than perhaps we do in winter when it is cold and often wet!
The week-end newspapers begin to include brochures of garden furniture and there seems to be a trend for viewing our patios as ‘outdoor’ rooms, complete with furniture and heaters!
There are many benefits to be obtained from spending time outdoors. Among them are:
To boost your creativity and focus.
Going outdoors for short breaks can help to achieve this, in both children
and adults. I especially found this to be the case with some of the
children I worked with who were on the autism spectrum. A five minute
run round the garden often helped them to concentrate more readily
when they came indoors!
To improve your mood and self-esteem.
Research shows that even short bursts of activity outdoors, even for five
can achieve this. Exercise outdoors also gives you the additional
challenge of weather (eg wind!) and terrain which require more energy
to be expended.
Increase levels of Vitamin D.
We have been educated to be aware of the potential damage the sun can
cause us. The pendulum has swung so far that we are now at risk of not
getting enough and Vitamin D deficiency in children has resulted in
an increased incidence of rickets, a condition that was all but eradicated.
Spending time outdoors can be inherently healing. This is in part
to do with the benefit of natural light. Time in natural surroundings can
reduce stress and tension, and ease depression. It may improve your
outlook and focus and it can strengthen your immunity
Connecting with the Creator.
“Nature is fuel for the soul.” according to Richard Ryan (lead author of a study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology 2010). He also commented that the study showed that connecting with nature was a better way to feel energised than having another cup of coffee!
I resonate with “Nature is fuel for the soul” and I personally have experienced the restorative and healing impact of time spent in the countryside and more recently and specifically, in my local park.
The terrain in the park is varied, the views are spectacular and there is a wide variety of trees – in fact the park contains an alphabetical arboretum! Walking regularly in the park in all seasons, listening to the birdsongs and observing the changes which occur in nature over the course of the year, have given me ample opportunity to connect with God as I walk.
God speaks through his creation, if only we will take the time out of our busy lifestyles and walk in the countryside! So I would like to encourage you to go into gardens, parks, the countryside on your travels and to look at the flowers, shrubs, trees, the sky and the clouds.
Take time to simply ‘be’. Take time to ‘look’ and see what is all around you. Take time to stop, to be still and to absorb the sights, smells, sounds of creation. Listen to what the creator, wants to communicate to you through creation!
If the weather or circumstances make this difficult, go in your imagination by listening to A Walk in the Forest or Autumn! Either way record your thoughts, feelings and reflections in your journal.
Let me know how you get on!