Evidently, she'd heard my gasp of delight at the vista that had just unfolded before us. After a 2-mile hike up the mountain, I was, indeed, feeling joyful at the sight of the ocean of blue mountains rolling majestically to the horizon.
At a very basic level, I think we all know that nature is good for us. Fresh air, physical activity, sunshine. Healthy stuff.
But, lately, I've become more mindfully appreciative of the benefits of being outdoors, benefits that transcend the obvious.
I highly recommend a quick listen to both What Awe in Nature Does For Us and The Radically Simple Digital Diet We All Need. (And then put your phone down and heed the podcasts' wisdom!)
First, we get the greatest benefits from nature when we experience awe. And -- surprise! -- awe very often happens in the quiet, reflective moments. That is to say, not during the thrilling, rolling whitewater portions of a rafting trip, but in the calm between the churn.
Our minds are not built to constantly process feedback and social stimulation and we suffer when we get trapped in that loop. The synapses in our brains are meant to flow like streams, not relentlessly fire in a million directions. We need to restructure our relationship with technology. We need to hear birdsong and wind-tousled leaves.