Nature's Beneficial Distraction

October 31, 2019

 

"I am looking out of my window in an anxious and resentful state of mind, oblivious of my surroundings, brooding perhaps on some damage done to my prestige. Then suddenly I observe a hovering kestrel. In a moment everything is altered. The brooding self with its hurt vanity has disappeared. There is nothing now but kestrel. And when I return to thinking of the other matter it seems less important."

Iris Murdoch

Moral Philosopher and Novelist

 

Well, it's not a kestrel I've painted, but bluebirds can alter my "brooding" in a similar way.

 

There are now plenty of research studies showing the benefits of nature.  Take a walk, get into green space, sit with the trees, get out in the sunshine are all recommendations from psychologists to physicians to business consultants.

 

How does Nature do that?  Distract us from all the cacophony in our heads of things to do, what we should have said, who thinks what of us and how we should be dealing with everything?  

 

I can have this internal dialogue going on as I start a hike and then see the sun glistening off a snow-covered branch and forget what I was saying to myself, as I consider the beauty of the light, the sparkling snow and the green juniper.  Now I start looking at the sky, the clouds, the shadows, the distant mountains and notice the mouse tracks in the snow.  I notice how the snow is textured by mounds covering bunches of grass.    And, really, nothing else seems that important.

 

Is it because of the beauty?  Or is it because Nature makes us realize we are one small being in a huge world of millions of beings?  Perhaps this type of feeling small is a good thing since it puts our self-focused thoughts in perspective to the huge world that is out there, simply living every day.   As our thoughts quiet, we can sharpen our focus on what is really important.

 

So take a walk in Nature and feel small so that you can feel grand!

 

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