There are many reasons why human beings find nature to be a remedy for anxiety and depression and low mood. When you feel lost, or stifled, or angry, or upset, it’s often nature that brings you back to yourself, back to a place where you can continue to function.
And it’s not just something you made up. It’s science. Research has found that people living in an enviroment that is closer to nature, feel healthier, have less health problems and visit the doctor less frequently. There are many reasons for this. One example, is Phytoncides. These are micro substances excreted by plants and trees, which protect them against bugs. The incredible thing is that these substances also reduce our stress levels and activate our immune systems. The antibodies that generate our white blood cells increase when we’re exposed to concentrations of phytoncides at the level found in forests. This is why Forest Bathing is shown to be so beneficial to human beings.
Nature is also home to the soil bacteria Mycobacterium vaccae, which was a bacteria we harnessed to evolve. This bacteria activates your immune system and triggers the release of serotonin, making you more relaxed and increasing your happiness. The scents and sounds of nature are also important for increasing happiness and instilling a sense of calm. They are intimately connected to your memories – tastes, smells and sounds, all take you back to times in your past.
Nature is an inspiration and the source of many great stories – in literature, music, film and art. Scenes from nature are my personal favourites when it comes to subjects for paintings and nature in some form always appears in my books, not just as a backdrop, but as an integral character.
Human beings are intimately connected to nature. We cannot survive without air and soil and water, without Sun and Moon. We cannot survive without bees and birds and all of the creatures who make up our delicate ecosystems.
For me, writing fiction where trees might speak, where birds guide you home, where people are entwined with plants, where adventures unfold on a mountain top, where we turn to animals for comfort, where nature needs us and we need her, where we cannot separate our needs from those of the world around us, creates a story that sings.
As you read, this engages all of your senses and reminds you of your own experiences in the world. The time you climbed a mountain and could see the entire world. The time you sailed into a blue horizon and dolphins danced. The scent of earth and trees, deep within a forest. The crimson sun rising from the earth in the middle of the desert. The waking birds each morning. Wind in your hair, salt on your skin, fruit on your tongue. How sand feels between your toes, how water feels as you float. How we all breathe with trees.
Nature is alive and moving and ever-changing. It is my inspiration, my passion, my mentor and my love. So, when you finally pick up my first work of fiction in a bookstore one day, you can be sure you’ll enter a world where nature sings.
Here is my response to the #VSS365 writing prompt on twitter today – the prompt word is Anxiety. I wonder if you can identify
She faded; sound muffled, eyes hazy, mind like glass.
‘Something’s wrong…’ she whispered.
But she couldn’t seem to find it…
She leant into a tree, smooth and cool against her skin.
A tiny bird hovered, its wings whirring.
And as she breathed, she blossomed.