Are you feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed? Are you spending too much time in front of a computer screen, constantly checking your phone, and overwhelmed by the continuous stimulation of our digital world? Then it’s time to take a hike. In hundreds of health readings, Edgar Cayce recommended spending time outdoors, in the open air and sunshine, for physical, mental and spiritual health:
Meditate, often. Separate yourself for a season from the cares of the world. Get close to nature and learn from the lowliest of that which manifests in nature, in the earth; in the birds, in the trees, in the grass, in the flowers, in the bees. (Cayce)
Hence there should be, in this direction, rather a budgeting more of the time, and not such a strenuous amount of work INSIDE. Have more time for the outdoors, and for the relaxation of the body. Do not have too great a stress upon the system. (Cayce)
Perhaps this advice is more important now than it ever was. In reconnecting with nature, we most certainly can be healthier and happier.
Without a doubt, mental health problems are a growing concern for many people. Harvard Health Publishing recently updated a 2018 study on “ecotherapy” conducted by Dr. Jason Strauss, a psychiatrist at the Harvard-affiliated Cambridge Health Alliance. Ecotherapy, or nature therapy, is a therapeutic approach to well-being that centers on our connection to the natural world. Dr. Strauss’s updated study found “a strong connection between time spent in nature and reduced stress, anxiety, and depression.”1 For example, those who spent 90 minutes walking in nature versus those who walked in an urban area had lower activity in the prefrontal cortex. “When people are depressed or under high levels of stress, this part of the brain (prefrontal cortex) malfunctions, and people experience a continuous loop of negative thoughts,” Dr. Strauss explains. The people walking in nature also showed lower blood pressure, lower cortisol levels (the hormone associated with stress and fight-or-flight reactions), as well as increased Vitamin D from more sunlight exposure (which helped boost the immune system).
Now that the weather is warmer, take advantage of the opportunity to care for yourself by enjoying a retreat in nature. Extend the benefits to others too: take the family out for regular hikes, visit your local parks, or go on a camping trip. And while you’re outdoors, make it a point to take deep breaths, get some exercise, and spend time quietly sitting in meditation or prayer. As Cayce recommended, learn to listen to nature, observe the activities of the plants and creatures, and realize that peace and beauty are all around us. It’s only our mind’s thought-chatter that keeps us from experiencing the magic of the moment. On a deeper level, going within yourself in the midst of nature’s wonders can help you hear that quiet voice that can only be heard when we take the time to be still and listen. Most people rely way too much on guidance from the external world. As Cayce often said, “The best book is SELF!”
Ultimately, by fostering a healthy connection with nature, we nurture a deeper connection to ourselves, and in doing so, we are giving ourselves the best medicine – love!
Have more and know more of nature and of God’s outdoors, rather than man’s. See nature not “in the rough,” then; rather in the expressions of Life! For each blade of grass, each blossom, each tree, each crag, each mountain, each river, each lake is as a gift from the Creative Forces in man’s experience that he may know more of the love of God. And as a soul, as a developing body then sees in the creatures, in the various kingdoms as THEY care for their young, as they are selective in their mating, as they are mindful of the influences and the environs, learn from these Nature’s lessons or God’s expression to the children of men; that He indeed is in His holy temple and is MINDFUL of man’s estate—if MAN minds the LAWS of nature, of God. For love is law, love is God. (Cayce)
So take time to love yourself, and take a hike!
1Harvard Men’s Health Watch, updated March 30, 2021 (originally published 2018), accessed April 28, 2021 : health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/sour-mood-getting-you-down-back-to-nature.
Jean Paul (JP) Amonte DC, CMT, ChT, is a licensed chiropractor, massage therapist, and hypnotherapist. He is a graduate of the Cayce/Reilly® School of Massage and currently a lead instructor at the massage school and a clinician at the A.R.E. Health Center & Spa. A popular lecturer at A.R.E., Dr. Amonte can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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