A Wider Horizon

The eyes experience less stress
When they can look upon a wider horizon.
R.D. Chin

Sometimes I catch myself perseverating on a thought or problem which I can’t let it go. I may be worrying about one of my kids, or I might be mentally playing through a future stressful event – over and over and over again. I have struggled with this my entire life. it seems to be my life’s work – learning to let go. In fact, as part of my self-therapy, I will repeat to myself, “Let go.” That has been helpful.

But over the past few years, I have discovered an even better way to let go of my stress, and that is to take it outside. If I am feeling stressed out, I will just go outside and sit with nature for awhile. I take in my surroundings and realize just how small my problems are, in comparison to the immense beauty of the world. I begin to recognize my little place in this world, and this realization reminds me that my problems are insignificant.

Being in nature is therapy. Five years ago, I began summer outdoor yoga classes. It first began because I had some elementary teachers and staff who wanted to continue their yoga practice into the summer, which had been taking place in the schools. At the time, I had no other space, and so I offered up my quiet and peaceful yard as a place for yoga practice a couple mornings a week. We all recognized, immediately, the theraputic benefits of being out in nature: from the call of the birds to the light breezes blowing on our hot bodies, we knew that we had discovered something special. An hour of tranquility. An hour of letting go of all our thoughts and worries. An hour of breathing in nature’s life force.

When we take our problems outdoors, our awareness of their insignificance is amplified. Our stress decreases in this awareness.

When was the last time you stepped outdoors to release stress?

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