Do you ever just long to be outside? You sit at a desk all day, day after day and dream of your last vacation when you enjoyed the beach for a week. Or maybe you dream of standing in a high alpine meadow as the sun sets on the snow-capped peaks to the songs of meadowlarks singing. Your heart aches to get out and feel the wind in your hair and the sun on your face. You know that nature will heal you, rejuvenate you, and give you back something city life has taken.
Getting Back to Nature
Studies have shown that getting back to nature is good for your mental health. But what if you cannot get out for months at a time? Are you stuck in your office or house and long to be free? According to Dr. Jason Strauss, director of geriatric psychiatry at Harvard-affiliated Cambridge Health Alliance, just hearing sounds of nature and being able to gaze at a photograph of a natural scene such as a forest, can lower blood pressure, ease anxiety and depression.
Soothing the Wild Beast
I grew up being outside. We slept in the yard on summer nights, camped in the mountains on weekends, and hiked regularly. We had horses, chickens and other livestock and grew a garden. As an adult I found less and less time available to spend outside. As this happened I noticed a difference in my mental health. I began to realize I needed to be a part of nature to feel complete. I could not always get away from work so I started printing my photographs and hanging the images in my house and making some as screen savers on my laptop. I found it helped! I still longed to be outside but being able to look at an image of nature and remembering the feeling of the wind and sun on my skin, the sounds of the birds and insects helped to calm the caged wolf in my mind.
Bring a piece of the outdoors into your home
Many of my clients have commented to me on how much they enjoy bringing a piece of the outdoors into their home. How when they look at the photograph it makes them happy, it brings back good memories of times spent in nature. One client saw my photograph of Lindisfarne Beach in England and just had to have it because she had spent her birthday on the beach. Another client saw my photograph Water Colors and fell in love with it because it reminded her of a specific place she had ridden her horse. Sometimes it is just the overall scene that sets in motion the feeling of happiness and draws the viewer into the image. Once a client commissioned me to photograph a mountain scene in the summertime to commemorate a backpacking trip they took with friends.
Do you have a favorite memory of a vacation on the beach or camping in the mountains? If you enjoy art and photographs of places that make you happy, why not surround yourself with the beauty of nature in your home or your office? Pick a photograph you can get lost in where fields of green will help you find the balance you need to be successful in all your adventures, whether those are in the boardroom or the dining room.