Nature Deficit

Cox Bay, Tofino, BC.

It is so easy to neglect going out of the house.

The more I am indoors, the easier it is to get sucked down and CONFUSED as to why I feel shitty or unproductive.

There is a lack.

I have found that I may not even know I am missing something pertinent to my happiness, and that is when my mood goes haywire. It is crazy how our moods shift to the negative and often we don’t even know WHY.

One reason I have realized very recently, and that is nature deficit.

One example is that I am a fairly socially anxious person. If I know most people present at a gathering, I am okay. If not, I tend to segregate myself and stick with who I came with or obsess over any animals that are there (animals are my saviours at parties). I don’t generally relate to a typical party atmosphere. I even decided that I didn’t want to go to them anymore, but then was invited to a friend’s birthday and felt I should go. It was the same crowd of people, and I had fun. I still obsessed over the animals there, but I didn’t feel GROSS or AWKWARD like I do at most social gatherings…because it was outside. I then realized that all of the parties I have loved have been outside.

I wrote a list of the favourite, most memorable moments of my life, and pretty much all of them took place in the woods, swimming, surfing, biking on the beach, or immersing myself in nature in some way.

A video I watched of raw athlete Tim van Orden recently found him doing everything the same in terms of eating and exercise, but he had gained a little weight since he had to stop running – yet he still exercised indoors on a spin bike for the same amount of time. He hated it. As soon as he started exercising outside on an actual mountain bike, his minor weight gain went back down to normal, because he loved it. The stress factor was removed, and he was out in the WILD. His mood shifted from that one simple change.

I think it is so important to spend at least some of the day outside, and not just walking down the street to get a slice of pizza. I mean getting into REAL NATURE, not the city. Go to the forest, the beach, the mountains, the desert. Whatever you have near you, make an effort to get to nature as much as you CAN. If you are completely out of easy access, find time to get to the closest nature spot you can, as often as you can. Weekly at least. Daily is best, but I know that isn’t possible for some people.

Even in winter this should be something people do – get the right gear. Being outside is necessary for us – humans were not meant to be indoors.

Make the effort and see what sort of difference it makes for you! It sure has made a huge one for me.

Recommended reading:

We Are Wildness blog
The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age
Your Brain On Nature: The Science of Nature’s Influence on Your Health, Happiness and Vitality
Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder

Go Away

Me in 2003.

I have set a new rule for myself: If it’s nice out, GO OUTSIDE.

I am not allowed to be on the computer (unless I am writing). No internet perusing. Out I go.

I don’t want to be dying in my old age (since I know disease ain’t gonna get me), or in some dire situation and wishing, “Shit, I wish I’d done blah-blah-blah instead of reading blogs or watching youtube!”

Granted, I learn a lot from both of those things. However, it’s easy to get distracted, too. And I do, way too often.

Now that spring is really shining, I go out. I read outside if I want to read. I structure my time and figure out how I can really enjoy the few warm months that this part of the world has to offer.

The internet and all the other dumb crap will still be there when it’s dark, when it’s pissing rain – you aren’t missing anything. Trust me. Go do stuff. Outside. Your body wants sunlight, it was natural light, and it wants fresh air.

Your brain wants stimulation from nature, not television. Television and most of the internet (unfortunately) wants you to be a zombie. That makes you easier to control. “Buy our stuff! Emulate these humanoids! Eat this garbage! Carbs are bad for you! Buy our drugs!”

All this junk is pumped into everyone hundreds of times a day. Escape it, give your body a break, give your mind a vacation. Turn this bloody computer off RIGHT NOW. You don’t even need to read this blog – I’d rather you didn’t – I want you to go outside.

This is a sign! Go away.