Does the following statement resonate with you? “I believe that nature can “make me happy” but it honestly seems a little boring when I go outside “in nature” and just hang out. I’m always tempted to look at my phone or just take photos of where I am with geotags trying to show the world that I am active and outdoorsy. Nature doesn’t make me laugh as much as social media memes.” If this sounds like you – I understand! However, let’s take a further look at how nature can actually make you happier than social media:
For the majority of people, our daily lives are comprised of Instagram likes, YouTube views, Twitter posts, Facebook friend requests, tags, hashtags, and Snapchats. Do you really think that any of those technological devices or social media obsessions make you truly happy? Probably not. But you still check your phone constantly… Why?
Have you let yourself get to the point where you are thinking of catchy hashtags more often than you are thinking of environmental conditions? Could you and your friends recite more memes than you could name different types of trees?
Think back to your favorite childhood memories… they probably don’t include as much social media as you are involved in now, you probably played outside much more than you do now, and you were probably happier and more carefree as a result.
Nature is an incredible source of beauty, awe, action, stillness, danger, comfort, and is beneficial to your health and emotional well-being. So, instead of scrolling through your newsfeed’s, try opening the window and expose yourself to an entirely new world of geo-tags and sepia filters. What do you have to lose?!
Nature is where we come from – we innately feel connected and refreshed when we spend time outside. On the contrary, the fleeting popularity and instantaneous world of social media only lasts for a few minutes before you want to refresh your newsfeed and find out new information about people. Nature is constant and calming not nerve wracking or superficial. Think of the anxiety and depression that affects so many people in the U.S. and think of the correlation between high use of social media + lack of outdoor time with this negative mental health statistic. The temporary benefits of feeling entertained or connected to people via social media doesn’t last and it just requires more and more of our attention and mental energy. It isn’t refreshing or revitalizing in the same way that watching ocean waves can reconnect our mind with our bodies and souls. You’re fooling yourself if you think you don’t need nature – where does your food come from? Vitamin D is essential to bodily functions. You need air to breathe and water to live. When you forget about the basic facts of how vital nature is to our existence, it starts to open up your innate knowledge about the benefits of nature. Could you survive without nature? No. So whether or not you research the positive psychological effects of exposure to the natural world, or whether you take the simple fact for granted that you would not be here if it weren’t for the natural world – try incorporating more nature into your life to see if it makes a difference in your mood, your daily priorities, and your overall satisfaction with life. It’s subliminal effects and quite demeanor aren’t as attractive as photoshopped images to some people, but your mind and body are begging you to reconnect them to their source: nature.