According to a recent Stanford University study, there is now quantifiable evidence that nature is good for us. Specifically, that taking long-ish walks in a natural setting can reduce the risk of depression.
Well, we knew that all along: countless poems and songs had been written to reflect the impact that nature has on one’s soul; countless paintings, movies, sculptures and photographs had been created to revere the majestic and irreplaceable gift of Mother Earth.
The study merely underscores connection between ourselves and the environment is critical to our sense of well-being. That’s why during the month of April we embarked on a 30-day commitment of Earth Love.
The journey, which combined elements of self-care with actions that benefitted the environment, took some of us by surprise because so much of what’s required to make the Earth better makes us feel better in the process too. You can find all 30 daily assignments of the Earth Love Month here.
Some of the suggestions were rather obvious:
But the surprising hits of the month were “Break the Cycle of Busy” and “Clear mental clutter”, indicating that we all yearn for simplicity and slower pace.
We live in a culture of (over)consumption where the need for “more”, “bigger”, “better” and “new” drives us to work harder and aim higher; the culture of high expectations and unattainable ideals of perfection in regards to our looks, child-rearing, homemaking, and careers.
We live as if we are trying to squeeze 28 hours out of a 24-hour day.
No wonder then that 17% of Americans are likely to experience depression in their lifetime and nearly 20% of Americans are afflicted with anxiety, costing US economy over $40 billion a year.
The great news is that it is surprisingly easy for us to shift. All we have to do is decide that we deserve better…”real” better, slow down and simplify.