4 reasons you should take a walk in the woods

1. naturally therapeutic

The best thing about taking a walk on a forest trail is that you feel better after the adventure. Walking is the most common form of exercise, and is very effective when it comes to reducing stress and other negative emotions. However, walking in an area surrounded by natural life and landscapes reduces that negativity by an even greater amount. Walking away from the usual lifestyle, one that is full of cars, people, businesses, man-made products, and all of their respective smells and sounds, reduces the amount of things your brain has to constantly process and deal with. If you ever need to get away from the house for any reason, this is the place to go and relax, or release energy. The lack of mind pollution allows you to think more clearly, with less distraction and more relaxed thoughts. The air is more clear where less people and more plants exist, a fact that is proven when you breathe in the fresh, pleasantly scented air. Spending a small amount of time and energy away from your usual life leaves you thinking a little less about your problems, and gives you a fresher perspective on your daily life.

2. sense of adventure

If you’re looking for something new and fun to do, and you like exploring or traveling, a trail is a good option. There are usually forest trails in parks, and a google search may reveal that there are more wooded trails nearby than you had knowledge of. Taking that walk with open eyes, you will surely find something interesting, maybe even something you have never seen before. You also have the opportunity to explore what lies in between populated areas. It can be intriguing to learn how much explorable land is encompassed by these natural nooks. The “hidden” aspect of these areas make them even more exciting to traverse. You don’t know what is ahead or around, so you are able to continually satisfy your curiosity for your surroundings  by constantly moving. Every area you walk through has something new worth observing, whether it is an interesting tree, a creek or body of water, a change in elevation or direction that yields a new view, or even an animal. Forest trails offer an adventure that creates mystery, varying scenery, and interesting discoveries.

3. being with friends

While a trail in the woods can be a relaxing and thought provoking experience alone, it can also become a fun and social one in the company of friends. Being away from the ears of others, yet among many living things, conversations become lively and intimate. In the stress-free environment of the forest, your friends will become more willing to talk about the things going on in their lives, leading to dialogue you might have never happened upon, had you hung out at the usual place. If you share an appreciation for nature with your friends, this certainly becomes the best place to spend time together.

4. creating memories

Some of my best memories come from walks with friends on summer nights. When you spend your time walking in new or old places, with or without friends, you remember a lot about those times. When you’re physically moving and observing your surroundings, your brain activity increases. It makes you think more, and focus more on the moment. When you’re out walking, you might be having a conversation with a friend, listening to music, or just observing the world around you. The things that occur during these times are imprinted more strongly into your brain. When you’re out interacting in the world, more things tend to happen that are worth remembering. A lot of things end up making for really entertaining and beautiful pictures and videos (see below). Your friend might try to walk on a log and fall in the mud, or you might have profound thoughts while listening to music. Maybe the lightning bugs look particularly lively, the stars are very bright, or there are just certain noises and smells you can only associate being here at this time. These are just simple examples of what could happen out there; things that will create memories you will treasure for a long time.

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My Friend Jacob exploring a bit off the path. (If you read #4, you know what happened next)

 

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A view on that same path, later in the evening.

 

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nature, our home

Nature provides for us something beautiful that can not quite be captured anyplace else. Whether you are walking a long dirt trail deep in the forest, or just walking through a grassy backyard, it gives you a feeling that is impossible to replicate. It is hard to say exactly why it brings these powerful feelings to your mind, but I believe it has to do with simply being alive, and being near other natural, living things. This instinctual tendency is referred to scientifically as biophilia (also the name of a book by author and biologist Edward O. Wilson), and remains a hypothesis. Your mind has a subconscious knowledge that nature is normal, and something that is supposed to surround you.

A breath of fresh air, a glance out the window at the trees, the scent of wet ground after the rain; all of these simple things provide that sense of security to you, because your mind knows you are where you’re supposed to be. There is a lot of scientific evidence that backs this theory up. Nature can improve your health and mood.

A lot of people spend less time outdoors than they should. Living around man-made things, and spending a lot of our time inside man-made structures, we disconnect with our essential being, and our well being can be affected. As strange as it is, we can easily forget the feeling nature brings to us, and we can easily forget the way it helps to relieve negative emotions, including anger or stress. It becomes hard to remember the feeling, and to take the time out of our busy days to simply place ourselves in it.

If you struggle to find harmony in your usual life, or you’re missing a connection you once felt, I believe this site will be beneficial for you. If you are a thoughtful person who finds beauty in the world, immerse yourself in this site for a while. If you lack a sensitivity to nature, you might not understand this site, or you might find it unnecessarily sentimental at times, but it still might prove an interesting read. If you’re looking for interesting facts and history about nature, you will find that here as well. If you’re just simply bored, you still might find something that entertains your thoughts.

I encourage you to take the time to interact with nature. If you’re feeling negative, observe the effects natural things have on you, like petting an animal, watering flowers, going for a walk, or sitting in the yard, among other activities. Keep an open mind, and pay attention to your thoughts and feelings as they change. You might find that interaction to be something you did not know you needed.