NATURE CONNECTION // TAPPING INTO YOUR INHERENT ABILITY TO FEEL BLISSFUL!
"Let Yourself be Drawn by the Stronger Pull of that which you Truly Love" - Rumi
Allowing myself to surrender to Nature's wisdom over what I thought I knew, has been the greatest teacher for finding my truth and personal expression. It has shifted my personal identity from one of fear into one of deep belonging, connection and bliss. I believe that bliss and connection is our most natural state of being and one which is deeply woven into the fabric of the living world around us. We cannot help but feel a profound sense of nurture from connecting to Mother Earth and to the wider ecosystem to which we belong. It makes perfect sense that there is an in-built pleasurable feedback loop for activities that enhance life. The exciting thing is, it is available to all and free and relatively easy to tap into, if you are willing to let go of preconceived ideas of nature and your relationship to the wider web of life.
It is sometimes easy in the modern world to forget how interwoven we are with plants. They product the oxygen we need to breathe, the basis all our food. Without plants and trees we could not exist on Earth, so it makes sense that feeling disconnected from these life-providing friends, we can be left un-grounded, anxious and seeking alternative ways to feel happy.
Science is now recognising and exploring what we have instinctively sensed for millennia, that what brings us life also brings us pleasure. Research in a new area of biology called Biophilia, is examining the effects of connection to nature on the body, emotions and overall happiness levels.
- (according to a theory of the biologist E. O. Wilson) an innate and genetically determined affinity of human beings with the natural world.
Studies on the positive effects on humans from being around plants and trees have shown:
"To reduce blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and the production of stress hormones, increase immune health, reduce anxiety, improve depression and other mental health issues, improve concentration and creativity."
As a result of being around life, being around what sustains us, our nervous system relaxes and we move out of stress response into one of connection and relaxation. In this state we start to produce some lovely neurotransmitters like oxytocin and dopamine. These further stimulate feelings of relaxation, connection and pleasure.
There has been a good amount of research conducted in the negative health effects of an absence of nature in peoples' lives, mainly concentrated on the effects of providing plants and natural spaces to ameliorate the impact of office environments. As wonderful as it is that office designers and corporations are recognising that employees perform better with access to natural features and fresh air, surely this is just the start!
What if we could move beyond simply avoiding ill health and coping with office and urban environments and realise our potential to live in continuous biophilia, truly thriving within our ecosystem rather than simply surviving?
Simple daily practices for connecting the nature, in small or large ways can have a huge impact on health and happiness.
Embracing Biophilia in Your Life!
· Grow your own vegetables or herbs. Giving love and care to a plant that you can then enjoy in your food is a wonderful way to connect to what sustains us. It can be a pot of parsley on your window sill to a whole vegetable patch.
· Have a beautiful nature picture as your screensaver! This may sound silly, but studies have shown that we release happy brain chemicals just from looking at pictures of nature!
· Try to take a 15 minute daily walk in a park or garden every day. Take a little time to stop and notice the changes over the seasons. Keep an open mind for the wisdom in nature might be wanting to show you.
· Forest bathing – developed in Japan during the 1980s and has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine. Walk, sit, lie in some local woods and soak in all that lovely tree energy!
· Care for nature – the act of kindness to nature can be wonderfully uplifting and nourishing to us on a deep level. Find out about tree planting in your area, join a conservation volunteer activity or outdoor education programme.
The options for nature connection are vast and generally free or very affordable.
What could be better than finding an unlimited source of well-being and happiness, that gives back as much as it takes.
Clare Barnes is a 21st Century medicine woman, nature connection facilitator and the creator of Artemis Rising. She is passionate about the wisdom and healing potential of nature for physical, emotional and spiritual well-being and wholeness. She works with native UK plants, trees and fungi as a Plant Spirit Healer. Clare combines her background in microbiology and nutrition with experience and apprenticeships in indigenous plant medicine practices of North and South America, as well as elements of eco-shamanism. She believes through deepening our connection to nature and our bodies, many of the stresses and imbalances of modern life can be addressed and this can be accessible to all. Explore more over at ArtemisRising.co.uk | Facebook | Instagram