Nature is my drug of choice.
Which is not to say that medicine, therapy, and personal mindfulness aren’t super helpful in the fight against mental disorders… because those things are incredibly necessary.
However, if there is one single thing that can immediately improve my mood, it is a moment spent in the moment outside.
If I’m in need of a pick-me-up, a burst of motivation, or a moment of relief, I head outside.
I have been sincerely enjoying the crazy spring-like weather North Texas has been experiencing lately. Leben and I have been on many walks/hikes in lovely spaces.
I have taken advantage of nearly every clear day to do my work outside, to eat lunch outside, or to engage in “do-nothing” time out in the sun.
The prescription that nature provides is this: a sense of grounding.
When your head is full of racing thoughts, assignment deadlines, shame storms, and anxiety… When you’re feeling heavy and slow as molasses in the grip of depression… It can be so easy to depart the world and take up residence where the hurt lies.
When I get stuck in my head, I am in trouble.
Being out in nature– even just deliberately stepping outside for five minutes– can bring you back into your body and your self. If you let it.
However, the only way nature’s medicine will work for you is if you deliberately pause and decide to feel.
Be in this moment, right here, right now.
Feel the sun’s warm rays on your cheekbones. Reach for a tree and feel the bark under your fingertips– lean into it, and feel its deep inner strength. Feel the ground under your feet.
During one of my recent hikes with Leben, I found myself yearning to FEEL my surroundings.
It is usually satisfying for me to walk on uneven ground that’s not concrete, to feel the dirt beneath my shoes, to step on rocks and twigs. But this day, that was not enough.
I took my shoes off, and gave in to feeling.
Do this for yourself this week. Go for a walk in a place you feel comfortable, and have the courage to remove your shoes.
Let yourself feel the earth beneath your soles, and feel the connection you have with it.
How can we possibly feel the earth breathe if we do not stop to experience it?
At the end of my hike, I felt grounded. I felt refreshed. I felt comforted.
I felt alive.
“Keep the earth below my feet. For all my sweat, my blood runs weak. Let me learn from where I have been. Keep my eyes to serve, my hands to learn.” — Mumford and Sons