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Can Nature Be One of Your Best Friends?

Updated: Aug 2, 2023

Connecting to nature is a wonderful (& free) way to experience gratitude, mindfulness, openness

The melody of nature, its nourishing energy and magnificence, brings a sense of connectivity to something much greater than ourselves.

Krystal with a redwood tree friend

Nature has always been one of my best friends. Let me share how and why, and ways for you to connect to it so that you, too, can experience its offerings of well-being and peace.

Sensations of Nature

On a sunset walk around my neighborhood tonight, as I stepped outside, I could not help but be immediately swept into the energetic shift that nature offers. The expansiveness spoke volumes - being catapulted from a square box to an open horizon awoken my senses while quelling my nervous system.

As I moved my body forward on the sidewalk, feeling the cool breeze, I heard numerous birds chattering as if they were having a sunset gathering, and saw a collection green shades displayed amongst the trees and plants. I began to feel something beyond myself - the trees, plants, birds, and sky - this existence holds all life, organisms, beings as we know it. Walking and gazing around, I zoned in on one redwood tree before me. The sunlight seemed to rest on a particular redwood branch/leaf, highlighting its new green growth and reminding me that even old, tall trees keep growing and changing. In this moment, I felt a rush of love and appreciation for not only the redwood, but the sun that spotlit this visual.

A study (referenced below) posits that one of the reasons nature is so relaxing and full of awe is because it is filled with variations of shapes, colors, sizes, textures. Instead of straight lines and a few colors (e.g. inside of a room), a landscape outside offers curves, squiggles, fractals, and a myriad of designs that tickle our multi-sensory systems.

Being outside in nature is integral to my well-being. If you do not live in a natural setting where wilderness or parks surround you, then perhaps you are up to the challenge of discovering a piece of nature to connect with. Finding a favorite tree in your neighborhood, or even tending to a beloved houseplant, will certainly do. All it takes is switching to the macro lens of your eyes and brain to hone in on the natural elements around you. It could be plants, mountains, or celestial - the night sky, stars, sunset, and beyond. Engage all your senses! Zoom in as if everything else was blurred, so that you can notice every detail that the natural world offers right in front of you. It is free, it is grounding, and it is healing.

Photo by Aperture Village on Unsplash

What's It All Mean?

To me, connecting, immersing, hanging out with, or even visualizing nature photos is important to stay balanced. We are not separate - we are a part of nature. Like a child who is raised by one person in isolation without a village, where the child and caregiver are both stressed and beyond their capacities - we, too, cannot just rely on one organism kingdom to thrive. I believe that we can tap into other support systems, other "caregivers" found in nature, to feel grounded, balanced, and connected.

Try it out with me - step outside mindfully, and notice how your body, mind, spirit feel. If you cannot, then gaze at the photos on this page (one at a time, slowly), and simply observe how you feel. Perhaps there is a deeper breath, a slight smile, or a sense of peace and gratitude. I invite you to feel the touch and embrace that nature has to offer us.

"The monotony of stimulation can be a source of stress and multimodal sensory input itself can drive positive mental states such as tranquility." - Lara Franco, Danielle Shanahan, & Richard Fuller

Want to Learn More?

Check it out yourself - gaze slowly and mindfully at each of the photos below (taken by yours truly). While doing so, tune in to your other senses - besides vision/sight. As humans, we are multi-sensory organisms. Being in nature taps into and invites all our senses to awaken. See how you experience your body, mind, spirit from just looking at these photos of nature.

Photo by Krystal Ying

Photo by Krystal Ying

Photo by Krystal Ying

Photo by Krystal Ying

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Image by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos

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