Saturday, July 2, 2011

Nature Deficit Disorder & The Beauty of Outdoors

"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.  Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.  The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves." 
~John Muir

I got to spend my Wednesday night out in this! Absolutely beautiful:)

It is agreed upon that contact with nature increases mental health and holds many psychological benefits. Nature is SO healthy to be in, yet in our culture today, we often spend very little time in it. We get up, get ready & go to work or school, participate in other activities, clean, do homework, pay bills, go to bed, and do it again tomorrow. There are days I get so busy that I forget to even look at the scenery as I drive past it! This certainly isn't healthy!

When I was growing up I was expected to spend most of my summers outside playing, making up games, and being creative. I loved it, and still look back at those summers as some of the best times of my life! Not only is nature psychologically healthy and can lead to a decrease in stress, but it allows children to engage in imaginary play, and helps them to develop creativity. Computer and video games, and watching TV, don't lead to these things. I fear that many children today are lacking this.

Within the last few years, the psychological community has started to recognize the extreme importance of spending time outside. Besides what I've already mentioned (stress relief & creativity/imaginary play development), it creates a situation where physical activity will likely happen. Walking, running, biking, hiking, playing sports, and swimming can all occur outside. Being outside in nature helps us to slow our thoughts, and live life in the present moment. This is where the development of mindfulness comes into play!

Go outside sometime in the next week! Sit outside and read a book, lay out in the sun (use sunscreen!) and take some deep breaths, play a game with your kids, or talk a long walk with your significant other. Notice what changes when you step outside, and enjoy the physical, mental, and psychological benefits of it!

Here are a few resources on "Nature Deficit Disorder"
Video on The Movement to Overcome Nature Deficit Disorder
Article: No More Nature Deficit Disorder

What I'd like to know:
What was your favorite activity to do outside when you were a kid? Do you struggle to spend time outdoors now, or do you take the time to enjoy nature?

**Confession: This is a repeat post from something I posted at the very beginning of this blog (in Dec 2010). Due to it being a different season (and the fact that I'm sure none of you were reading back then), I'm posting it again with a few things added into it!


  1. I think its perfectly cool to cycle old blog material. All of my Self-Love Reflections are reposts because I simply think they are topics that are worth repeating again. :)

    Anyways - love the outdoors. It does SO much for me!

  2. when i was a kid, we lived out in the sticks of Vermont. I grew up running through the woods. Loved it. made dams in the brooks, fished, all that. now, i struggle with the fact that we live in a neighbourhood. growing up, we couldn't see our neighbours.
    i miss that.
    i love to just BE in the woods. to hike, run trails, stand on bald peaks and watch the sun rise. i fell clear, centered, and energized by it.
    thank you for this post!

  3. I have from time to time struggled to spend time outdoors. Really depends on the day, season, what is going on and what may/may not be current struggles.

    We recently bought a house. I have found myself wanting to sit on the deck and just 'be' often. Our deck overloooks a farm and field of corn. We live in town. However, the road behind our home - is a tad country.

    I grew up w/several aunts and one uncle who were my age or younger. We loved to play outside on the farm. We often would go our on four wheelers, ride our bikes uup and down the country road.