5 Tips to Get Back to Nature

5 Tips to Get Back to Nature

April 23, 2013 |  by | Follow her on Twitter here | 

Since Earth Day is still fresh in most of our minds, here’s another post singing Mother Nature’s praises!

Did you know that exposure to plants and trees can benefit your health in tangible ways? It’s true! Yet, we live in a time when “nature deficit disorder” (a phrase coined by journalist and author Richard Louv) is widespread. Characterized by increasingly sedentary and indoor lifestyles, this condition is not recognized by the mental health community—but the side effects are becoming evident in today’s society.

This relationship has shifted from the days when children’s free time was less structured, to today’s prevalence of organized sports and video games. And although children suffer most from nature deficit, adults who are not comfortable with nature and science also contribute to the disorder. Fortunately, it’s easier than you think to get back to nature.

Here are 5 tips for benefitting from a bit of horticultural therapy:

1. Spend more time outdoors.

Plan parties at local parks, take vacations that involve hiking or camping, and spend time walking around your neighborhood, listening to birds chirping and noticing the changing environment as the seasons turn.

2. Limit screen time for yourself and your children.

As a society, on average we spend 8 hours per day plugged in. What would happen if you cut that down to 2 hours? You could extend your life! A 2011 study reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology conducted by a group of international researchers, showed that anyone who devotes more than four hours daily on screen-based entertainment such as TV, video games or surfing the web, ups their risk of heart attack and stroke by 113 percent and the risk of death by any cause by nearly 50 percent compared to those who spend fewer than two hours daily in screen play.

3. Volunteer.

Find a local environmental or land stewardship organization and see if you can donate your time in their outdoor campaigns. You’d be surprised how many projects for which they need helping hands!

4. Plant a garden.

Whether it’s a few pots on your balcony or a full-blown 20×20 garden, growing your own food and getting your hands dirty connects you with the earth. If you don’t have much outdoor space of your own you can use for this purpose, look into securing a community garden plot or sharing space with a willing neighbor.

5. Shop at the farm.

A weekly trip to a local farm can expose your family to the sights, smells, and wonders of living off the land and provide context for where your food comes from. By making that connection, you foster a sense of respect for the natural world that can’t be undone. If there’s no farm nearby, opt for the farmer’s market!

The late environmentalist Rachael Carson may have summed it up best when she said, “Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the Earth are never alone or weary of life.” Once reconnected with nature, that solace is yours to keep.


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  1. Wendy, wonderful post with beautiful imagery. Yea for spring! I hear it’s on the way. It’s so cold here today, but I cannot wait to get into my little garden.

    I agree wholeheartedly. There’s actually a vibration of the earth that is healing to our bodies, the schumann frequency. This is literally a grounding of energy within us to the earth and has physical healing effects on our bodies.

    Feel free to look at my blog for more information on energy and healing. Thank you for my next blog inspiration. You can link to it from my website. Great blog.

    Dr. Samantha Joseph

  2. I live in gorgeous Montana and teach middle school. I am amazed at how many kids stay inside. Very few have gardens. This should be a requisite for all schools. Our high school has a great AG program, so at least then kids can choose farming and the outdoors. I don’t know what I would do without the great outdoors. it is so much a part of me.

  3. Excellent suggestions. I am so saddened when, on a beautiful spring day like the one we had in my part of upstate New York today, I saw so few children outside playing. Where were they? Maybe some were doing their homework but I suspect most of them were either in structured indoor activities or on their video game consoles or computers. When I was growing up in the 1950′s my Mom would kick me outdoors to play. She knew what she was doing. Incidentally, my husband and I have been community gardeners for much of the last 20 years.

  4. Totally agree! I always worry about how much of my life I spend indoors. These are great tips.. Again, I’m loving the photo and quote!

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