Find Yourself, In Nature
After running through sunlit forests with trees reaching up to the sky, I hiked up the mountain. Scrambling up the rock with dirt between my fingers as birds sang, I reached the top. Standing atop the peak, I was greeted with the amazing panorama of the land as the sun set in the horizon.
During this moment I was at peace. I was filled with bliss and calm, and a moment of clarity thinking about the semester that had passed, the completion of my degree, and the future ahead.
These moments of vital reflection come easily to me as I am immersed in nature, being mindful of my surroundings. Embracing sensational experiences like these is where I find often find myself and you, too, can do the same.
Why should you spend time in nature?
Nature is one of the most beautiful, serene, and amazing environments to immerse yourself in. In addition to the benefits shared in my previous post Nature’s Impact on You, nature serves as a gateway for self-discovery and inspiration for finding inner self (or intrinsic aspirations).
We all have intrinsic aspirations (meaningful relationships, personal growth, community contributions) and extrinsic aspirations (fame, wealth, image). Both are types of goal-sets we can have for ourselves, but intrinsic aspirations are incredibly beneficial.
Pursuing intrinsic aspirations satisfies basic psychological needs. They may provide a sense of vitality, positive feelings, and lessen experiences of depression and physical illness.
Earlier this semester I presented a research study by Weinstein, Przybliski, & Ryan (2009), testing nature immersion’s effect on aspirations. From this research I learned that nature exposure facilitates the valuing of intrinsic aspirations and devaluing of extrinsic aspirations, which is moderated by immersion in the environment. This means that nature can help us discover our inner self.
It’s the visual elements in natural environments that reduce stress and mental fatigue. These environments promote a more reflective mindset.
Imagine a therapy that had no known side effects, was readily available, and could improve your cognitive functioning at zero costs. It exists, and it’s called interacting with nature. – Stephen and Rachel Kaplan
Get out there!
If you’re a high school student wondering what to do with your future, a university student wondering what to do next after graduation, or anyone undergoing a life crisis, this is for you.
Get outside, connect with nature! Be immersed in your natural environment; the answers are awaiting you there. You may be surprised on the effects that nature can have on you when you’re stressing about the future, and you may even discover your inner spirit.