Reflections after a Teravana Visit: Now Is A Good Time to Let Nature In

July 27, 2023

By Michael Collins, Teravana 

According to the Yale Center for Business and the Environment, “Time spent in nature has been associated with improved psychological functioning, overall mental health, and connection to places for children, teenagers, and parents.” Many young folks are not spending a lot of time outside, and for those who do not have easy access to nature, the challenge is even greater. 

Looking at the above quote, I am drawn to the idea of “connection to place.” Aren’t we always connected in some way? But the meaning comes quickly: staring at our phones and computer screens all day leaves our minds floating in space. By connecting to life around us, our senses come alive. 

A recent visit to Teravana explains why that answer comes easily to me. Breathing in old-growth forests and sleeping among the stars and taking a break from my routine, I woke up to what my body and soul wanted. When I think now how much I needed the experience, to just listen to nature for a few days, I realize how important it is for all of us to step away from what we have come to know as normal life.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child and Adolescents Psychiatry, and Children’s Hospital Association have declared a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health. 

A study by the National Institute of Mental Health found adolescents assessed after the pandemic shutdowns reported more symptoms of anxiety and depression and greater internalization of problems. The study also showed signs of brains that had aged and were experiencing adult-level amounts of stress. 

Adolescents may stand out in this discussion because their brains are still developing, but a great way for us all to reset and move forward is to find ways to get outside.

There’s something going on these days, where a lot of us want more but are not sure how to go about it. It’s like we’ve come to a time where our tired eyes are looking through computer screens, and we are becoming increasingly hounded by the notion that we want more for ourselves and for our lives. I guess we just don’t know what we want. Again, when I give myself time to think about it, the answer is clearly revealed: I want more time outside.  

We may not always have time to go for a hike or a walk along the beach, but the fresh air and natural surroundings can be calming and refreshing. Or time to really notice what’s going on around us, to let the sun soak in or listen to the wildlife, to become present. Or to find a few minutes of quiet. There’s a difference between quiet in our home compared to meditating or practicing yoga on an empty patch of grass as the sun comes up. 

For most of us, and I’m making a note of it here for myself, we just need to get it done, even if for only ten minutes a day.


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