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Thread: Back to Nature

  1. #1
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    Default Back to Nature

    Do you feel calmer after going for a walk in a natural setting?



    If you live in an urban area, do you deal with stress by taking a vacation somewhere rural or wild? Many of us do. So, have you ever wondered why and how immersing yourself in a more natural environment makes you feel different? Why do we feel restored when we take a walk in the great outdoors?

    The busy lives most of us lead these days takes us about as far as we can get from the natural world. It causes stress and makes our brains work hard to keep up. But is a simple walk in the forest enough to counteract the effects of modern living? Research is showing that the brain benefits by getting back to nature - from the foods we eat, to the pets we keep and to the places we go to relax.

    The brain's response to the sights, sounds and even smells of nature has the power to trigger our hormones, readjust our heart rate, balance our mood, perk up our cognition and boost our immune system.

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    What I found most interesting was not just that the research showed that people felt 'better' after going for a walk in a natural setting vs. through a building, but that the test subjects underestimated how much better they would feel after going for the walk in nature.

    There's also a little blurb in there from one of the researchers whose research has shown that TV makes you feel stressed instead of calming you, so if you really want to 'unwind' at the end of a day you should probably go for a walk and avoid watching the television. There is an old adage that "TV rots your brain" which I am beginning to feel is quite true through personal experience. I'm beginning to feel the same about surfing the web too.


    I enjoy hiking and such, and I believe it really does make me feel more at peace. What are your thoughts and/or experiences?

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    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    absolutely. I wouldn't live anywhere that was not relatively nature-oriented, both in the actual city and in terms of distance from real hiking trails etc.

    I'm not sure why - maybe it's an instinctive response, or maybe it's just being away from all the intense stimuli of modern life - flashing screens, jarring noises, crowds, etc for a while.
    -end of thread-

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    I'm not really an outdoors person, but I do like the occasional walk through a natural setting. The idea of going for a walk vs watching TV is an interesting one. I mean, I've obviously thought of it before in terms of how best to spend my time, but not in terms of which one is actually better for relaxation.
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    No idea about the science, but it works for me. I purposefully chose a community oriented around natural resources (a lake with amenities like trails / a manmade beach / etc. maintained with the homeowners' HOA dues) because of this. Then again I grew up in a rural setting (surrounded by farmland) so at some level I figured I was just maintaining my own personal status quo.
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    Quote Originally Posted by spirilis View Post
    No idea about the science, but it works for me. I purposefully chose a community oriented around natural resources (a lake with amenities like trails / a manmade beach / etc. maintained with the homeowners' HOA dues) because of this. Then again I grew up in a rural setting (surrounded by farmland) so at some level I figured I was just maintaining my own personal status quo.
    Disregarding the lake, how urban is your neighbourhood? Are the trails paved? Is boating (particularly power boats and personal watercraft) allowed on the lake?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 93JC View Post
    Disregarding the lake, how urban is your neighbourhood? Are the trails paved? Is boating (particularly power boats and personal watercraft) allowed on the lake?
    Small detached lots with some townhome communities at the end of the street, so, somewhat densely populated in my neighborhood anyhow. Trails are not paved, watercraft are allowed but electric only (along with kayaks/canoes/etc).
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    I was just curious because I've known a few people over the years with 'cabins' on a lake somewhere. I heard 'cabin' and thought it'd be kind of rustic with few amenities and out in the proverbial wilderness. Instead they're basically just houses that happen to be on a lake, a lake that's rife with houseboaters, wakeboarders, etc.

    It's sort of like going camping with a motorhome complete with satellite TV, a stereo sound system, blah blah blah. It doesn't feel very 'wild' to me. It's sort of... inauthentic. I see those monstrous RVs on the highways headed out to the campgrounds in the mountains and think "Why would you bother? You might as well have stayed at home. Would it feel any different if you parked the thing in your driveway and had a fire pit in your yard?"

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    I love the city and I love the mountains and I love the oceans. If I didn't have trees and plants... that would be depressing.
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    I live in an urban jungle, but there's some awesome running trails that are mostly trees with wild boars, deer, and armadillos running around in it, and we all go twice a week or so and spend about an hour out there walking a couple miles.

    It definitely helps. It doesn't have to be a forest though--the beach is therapeutic for me, and I really enjoy the way snow looks out on the mountain when I go snowboarding.
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  10. #10
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    With modern farming a rural life can be just as industrial as the city.

    No, rather than farmland, I prefer a park, in fact a park and gardens.

    Nature is red in tooth and claw, an rural life is now industrialised, but we have the perfect antidote in the park.

    A park is nature tamed. And a park is a surcease from the industrial city. A park is halfway between nature and the city, made for the boulevardier and flâneur.

    And fortunately Canberra is a city in a park.

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