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3 Ways Spending Time in Nature Benefits Your Soul

3 Ways Spending Time in Nature Benefits Your Soul 


Have you ever felt stressed out, had writer’s block, or been stuck on a problem at work? Perhaps you took a walk around the neighborhood or spent a weekend away from work hiking, on the water, or swinging in a hammock. You probably returned to your routine on Monday refreshed and ready to tackle life with a renewed perspective. 


Spending time in nature has a way of doing that -- not just making you more productive and creative at work, because that is not life’s end. But it has a way of helping us feel more balanced and less stressed. The book The Nature Fix discusses this very subject and how nature has a scientifically positive impact on our brains. The author even goes so far as to say that nature “isn’t a luxury but essential to our humanity”. 


More specifically, spending time in nature offers tangible benefits for our souls, as well. 


Spending even a little bit of time in the great outdoors can help you…  


Calm your mind with true silence. 


Silence helps us focus on the voice of God in our lives. The constant noise from the news, emails, social media, and Netflix (and more) can stress us out, draw us away from prayer, and leave us feeling unrested (even though we may turn to some of those things specifically in order to “rest”). 


When we’re at home or at work, it’s hard to truly find complete silence thanks to background noise, email or text notifications, and other electronic distractions. Time in nature, though, helps us achieve that kind of pervasive silence. 

trailhead in the woods to hike and find solace and contemplation 3 ways spending time in nature benefits your soul

Hiking (ideally where there is no or spotty cell service!) is the healthiest kind of solitude, even if you’re with other people. The temptation to check your phone isn’t there because you know you don’t have service, so you can truly be present in the moment without any worry for what’s coming later or what other people are doing. This kind of silence -- even if it just means putting your phone on “silent” and not looking at it at all during a 15 minute walk -- is the kind of silent time in nature that has the ability to calm our minds and give us authentic respite from the constant demands of our everyday lives.


Restore your creativity. 


Spending time in nature, away from the routine of everyday life can help us see things from a new perspective. Being forced to think creatively about things outside our normal routine helps us return to our routine with an eye for new solutions, insights, and intricacies. 


This is especially helpful to keep in mind when you’re overwhelmed by work or facing a difficult situation. Taking time to focus on something so completely outside of yourself as nature can help you return with a refreshed perspective to see things in a way you couldn’t before.


Discover God in the beauty of creation. 


And most importantly, nature helps us reconnect with God in a unique way. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that, “The beauty of creation reflects the infinite beauty of the Creator and ought to inspire the respect and submission of man’s intellect and will” (CCC 341). When we see the beauty of a waterfall, or the sheer magnitude of mountains or the ocean, we can lift our minds to God and understand Him through the beauty that He created. 


Further, the authentic calm and quiet we find in nature can make it easier to pray. Is prayer difficult in your small prayer corner at home? Try going for a walk in the woods and just start speaking to God as you would a friend. The novelty and beauty of being outside, undisturbed by the distractions of everyday life, can make for a profound encounter with the Lord.


Time Spent in Nature is Essential 


In the 21st century, our lives have very much become oriented toward the indoors, and especially computer screens. And life can be stressful, lonely, or exhausting, especially thanks to modern political events and a pandemic.


Time spent in nature helps us take a welcome respite from the daily grind. But it also has spiritual benefits, and they truly are not optional -- they’re essential. 

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