We all have a comfort zone right? The place of ease, relief, and security but nothing really grows there. Including your self-confidence, self-efficacy, self-belief and abilities; all the aspects of self that you want to grow in order to live a happy, content life.
Your danger zone, for all aspects of this informative piece, is the place for challenges, risks, test and growth! We all want to elevate higher, gain knowledge and experiences in order to develop as human are right?! Or that just my innate need to understand this crazy path of life?
Humans as primitive creatures are risk adverse will avoid, deflect and dodge them seemingly rough and uncomfortable aspects of life. It’s within our psyche that we protect our well-being, however in our primitively built models, this transcends into the psyche where we crave comfort and reject the unknown, the challenges unless we are given an easy path. We desire more but avoid the hard work it takes to get us to be my where we want to be. WHY? Read last week’s musing on Self sabotage.
This week I want to share WHY spending time in Nature is cathartic for the soul, for experience that lead to building self-efficacy, confidence and growth!
When we spend time outdoors in the elements of winter, spring, autumn and summer we are exposed to the different seasons, exposure to cold, hot, wet, windy and dry. We can’t but accept what is delivered on any given day. When we chose to get outdoors and explore under these conditions we can either be uncomfortable or we can prepare, pack or dress appropriately and get out there!
Acceptance is one of the main concepts of Mindfulness. It allows us to understand that we surrender control and when we accept what is, we allow a calmer state of mind. One of receiving rather than control. Funnily enough when we accept what it, we can control our internal emotional thermostat.
Nature not only teaches us about acceptance but of the interconnectedness of all things. We rely on the trees for the oxygen we breathe, our life source and detoxify the carbon dioxide from the air we exhale.
Nature holds a relationship with everything around it, including us! There is an ebb and flow. A syncing that goes beyond what we can see. The eco-system is alive with life and death cycles and feeding one into another, an exchange of energy.
This interconnectedness goes further. It travels to the highest reaches branches of the tallest forests to the ferny undergrowth below. Each serves a purpose and works to support and feed the other. Animals live in sync with the seasons. What food is available to them and where they must travel to find food, in the seasons; a migration.
Humans are the only animals that have cultivate a “comfort zone”, an ease, no longer having to migrate with the seasons to hunt animals that move for the same reasons. Since the agricultural revolution of the 18th century, where we famed wild animals in cages/ fences and grew crops, negating the need to migrate with and for our food source, we have created a stationary lifestyle.
Research has shown that spending time in nature positively effects our nervous system, metabolic function, immunity and improves mood, reduce stress and depression. There is a number of reasons for this, such as the psychology of colours. Read previous blog here
Our nomadic lifestyles of living off the land are a far cry from the world of over consumption we currently live in. We still hold within our primitive genetic code, that of exploring the outdoors, the hunt, the unknown, the “danger zone”. Equally, it is where we find our greatest peace.
There is a balance we need with an advancing human civilisation, a yearning that calls us to the outdoor environment, to explore the connection we always had with nature, that we still have.
To push outside our comfort zone, challenge ourselves with a summit, a distance and reconnect with the natural spaces. When we are in these environments, it is hard to have immense gratitude for the rich colours after a heavy rain, the bloom of flowers in spring or the falls of the auburn leaves in autumn.
Yeah it requires mental and physical aptitude. Yes, it can be raining, windy, uncomfortable, less that desirable conditions. BUT if you can uphold your acceptance, gratitude and even a smile on your face under these conditions, imagine when life is comfortable and your given a test.
Less reactive. More mindful. That is the Nature of growth.
There are many ways that spending time in nature help heal, restore and rejuvenate physical, mentally and spiritually. One must only be open to entering the danger zone.
* This is the summit of Mt Agung, BALI (active volcano) - a 6 hour steep ascent to the summit in pitch dark of the night to watch sunrise over Lombok. This is where 6 years ago, my husband proposed - Challenge accepted!