I’m the kind of person who has a need to understand how something works, or why something is the way it is, before I believe in something wholeheartedly. I simply cannot take your word for it. Is there research behind this? Do scientists support this? I there evidence that it works?
But this year I had to throw myself into something without having any faith that it would work. Because why would it? It seemed just too simple. But I did it still, because I had to do something. I was going mad, desperate to find some relief, trying to get my head sorted. I was having a nightmare of a year, having been through a divorce and having my mum die of cancer. I was crying every day and I was struggling to be a good mum for my 3-year old in the midst of it all, not even being able to take care of myself.
Jumping into it head first
So I tried this thing that my dad had been nagging me about forever. I found myself doing this just for the sake of doing it, because I was noticing that it did make me feel better, without knowing exactly why. No, it wasn’t acupuncture (although I did try that, too). It wasn’t skydiving (I will never try that!) It was something unbelievably simple, but extremely effective.
I’m talking about going for walks in the woods.
Doing this, it was as if I was able to think more clearly, my thoughts got sorted somehow. I didn’t feel as depressed anymore.
The world is becoming an increasingly more hectic place. We have a lot of things we have to get done every day. There is hardly any time for relaxation or just catching your breath. People get sick in this world. They get overworked, they get weak immune systems, and Mother Earth herself is getting seriously ill. I just read a news article about how microplastics are getting into our foods, it’s actually now growing through the roots of the plants, making you literally eat plastics. This is because the plastic parts are so tiny, and we are in fact using the sludge from the cleaning facilities to fertilize our fields.
Going on a tur
I also listened to a podcast with a girl who used to have CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), she’d had it for years, being totally exhausted. She had then gotten well, simply by spending more time outdoors, in nature, picking berries and herbs. Now, she had become somewhat of a herbs expert, written a book about it, and was doing really well.
In Norway, Sunday is a “tur-dag”, everyone goes on Sunday walks in the woods. And I mean everyone. Normally, Norwegians are a quite shy people, but if you run into anyone on a Sunday walk, it is courtesy to say “hi.” Why? I have no idea, it’s just always been that way. And you can expect meeting a lot of people. I have never thought about why we have this tradition of going on Sunday walks in this country, but now I think it’s because our bodies just know that it’s good for us, and it has almost become like a religious ritual that must be completed slavishly.
What is it about being in the woods that makes us humans feel better? It has been shown that our immune systems get better by being amongst trees and plants. The colour green has a relaxing effect on us. Why? It probably has something to do with human beings having lived outdoors for millions of years, being hunters and gatherers, living side by side and in harmony with Mother Nature. But do you really have to know more than that? If being in nature simply reduces your sick-days and makes you feel better overall — now, that should be enough to make you head for the woods right there. Just try it, get it into your daily routine — a short, 15 minute walk, at least.
The girl on the podcast’s immune system got better. I’m starting to feel like I’m getting my head above water. The Norwegian people are doing it every week. Could it really be that easy? It surely couldn’t? Well, try it and check. See what happens — go for a walk in the woods after lunch today.