The Healing Benefits Of Nature
What is my purpose?
I asked myself while going through a lot of stress after I graduated from university and wasn’t really succeeding at anything. I was drowning in thoughts about my future, other people’s expectations and how I wasn’t living up to them. I should have had everything figured out at that stage of my life according to myself. But I didn’t, not even close. Everyone else seemed to have it all figured out, I thought. This inner battle led to a lot of stress, as I was split between doing what I felt was expected from me and finding my own truth.
I was longing to find my purpose. I wanted to live my passion. Every day.
In the midst of the self-destructive thinking I spontaneously booked a trip to Madeira, Portugal.
While hiking in the mountains through the pristine nature of the island, I started feeling myself again. When I was out there the only thing that mattered was the untouched nature around me. Wilderness. The lush forest that abundantly grew around me. The air that felt fresh, cool and humid at the same time. Silence. The sound of water running down the mountains and dripping. The ever-changing sky. The clouds that were resting on the mountain peaks and gave everything I saw a mystical touch.
That is what was real — not my self-created stress. I was feeling connected to the world again — I was no longer just one human being struggling and trying to figure out this thing called life. No. The whole world was rooting for me and supporting me. Right there and then. I was able to tune into the peacefulness and harmony of nature.
In the stillness of nature I began realizing what life was about. It was about feeling this connection with the world, feeling alive in the moment and not letting myself become consumed by thoughts about things that might or might not happen.
A growing body of research shows that spending time in nature relieves stress, improves cognition and affect, health and immune system function, attention, creativity, mental health etc. Nature has more healing benefits than we realize — I belive it is an important message to share.
After my trip I was inspired to buy a professional camera. Photography quickly became a huge passion for me and developed into the photos that you see in this article (they are self-portraits and photos of my mom as a model).
My aim with these photos is to show harmony between a human being and nature, to inspire people to spend more time in the wild and experience it in a deeper way, to spread awareness about the healing benefits of nature and to protect the environment. I also write poems for my photos in order to tell the stories behind them as well as the lessons that I have learned from nature.
Try stepping out into the wild, turn off your phone, close your eyes and listen to every sound around you, especially the subtle sounds. Then open your eyes and try noticing every movement around you, e.g. grass and leaves swaying in the wind. See every detail around you. Really look at a leaf, a pinecone, a flower and see the amazing geometry in them. That’s when your mind will go quiet and you will see wonders behind the things that we take for granted.
I truly believe that if more people discovered the benefits of having profound experiences in nature, it would have a positive effect on the environment. It’s impossible to not want to protect the environment when you open yourself up to these meaningful experiences.
Live your truth. Tune into nature’s harmony. Be inspired.
Originally published at www.annaisabellaphotography.com.
Originally published at medium.com
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