THE BENEFITS OF NATURE
By Alexandra Lapointe Turcotte.
Every year, we are told that the earth lives on credit. That with our level of
collective consumption, we deplete resources faster than we should. Year after year, the planet is unfortunately no longer able to keep up with demand and therefore, we are still witnessing the famous Overshoot Day.
In 2020, the Overshoot Day occurred three weeks later than in 2019 1. This is a historic step backwards and it is clear that the pandemic played an important role in this decline.
As if it were a cry from the heart of the planet, the pandemic has forced people to consume less and consume better, helping to give the earth a respite.
This same pandemic is now forcing us to go back to basics and since
a few months we notice the enthusiasm for outdoor activities. Nature has become our playground again, as if it were an escape from our daily lives and it seems more accessible than ever.
What is more, it increases our level of happiness. Speaking of happiness, 4/5
Norwegians (Norway is 5th in the ranking of countries where people are the happiest 2) participate in daily physical activity in nature compared to the United States where the value is only 1/5 3 (including the treadmill of the basement and gyms). I say that, I say nothing.
All that to say, the next time you go outside, instead of telling yourself that there is nothing else to do, think back to the list below and be thankful to Mother Nature.
Being in contact with nature is feeling small in front of it, it's about letting your guard down and enjoying its simplicity.
To be in contact with nature is to be in a mental state of "being" and not "doing". Aimlessly, the mental state of "being" invites living in the moment, letting things go, and honoring the unexpected.
Being in contact with nature allows you to have better concentration, to be in solution mode and to increase attendance.
Being in contact with nature improves the quality of sleep, thus relieving sleep-related problems.
Being in touch with nature reduces the chances of depression, decreases negativity, increases self-esteem and creativity. 4
The wonderful thing about the benefits of nature is that they don't last. They remain anchored in us.
Now that that’s said, how can you integrate nature into your lives?
Honestly, nothing could be simpler. Just start where it's available to you. A daily walk can be a starting point. A free workout or a yoga session in the park instead of the gym (or our living room, COVID reality) can be done easily. Otherwise, you can just go to a green space and breathe mindfully.
Personally, living in Montreal has taught me to stop taking nature for granted. Living in Montreal has taught me to cherish every square inch of greenery and to hug a tree when needed. Montreal in a pandemic will have definitely taught me that I need a lot more nature in my daily life and that for me, the neighborhood park is no longer enough. Montreal will have finally taught me that I have to live in the depths of the woods.
I just hope that by realizing the blessings of nature, we will collectively start to take care of it. That together, we will respect, nurture and honor it.
Finally, I suggest two documentaries to listen to if the subject interests you:
1- David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet - Available on Netflix
A communicator tells his life and the story of life on Earth in order to make the
mourning the lost wilderness and offering a vision for the future.
2- Sanjay Gupta: in search of a better life. Available on Ici Explora
Happiness plays a powerful role in our health, our mood and our
emotions. Dr Sanjay Gupta explores the city of Tromsø, Norway, for the
find. Months of darkness, near total isolation and high temperatures
freezing temperatures did not hold back the Norwegians. In fact, they have learned to adopt their
environment and use it to improve their well-being.
Good listening !
1 Radio-Canada, Earth Overshoot Day, historic reversal thanks to COVID-19, 2020, https: //ici.radio-
canada.ca/nouvelle/1728500/ecologie-environnement-depassement-uqo-alice-friser-gaz-serre (Accessed January 13, 2021)
2 Geo, Which are the happiest countries in 2020, 2020, https://www.geo.fr/voyage/quels-sont-les-pays-les-plus-heureux-du-
world-in-2020-200456 (Accessed January 13, 2021)
3 Major Radio-Canada reports, SanJay Gupta in search of a better life in Norway, January 7, 2021
4 Ontario Park, The Mental Health Benefits of the Outdoors, 2020, https://www.ontarioparks.com/parcsblog/les-bienfaits-du-plein-
air-sur-la- lantementale / #: ~: text = The% 20nature% 20compte% 20% C3% A9 aussi% 20une, de% 20vitalit% C3% A9% 20et% 20d & # 39; attention.
(Accessed January 13, 2021)