For as long as I can remember, I’ve gone outside at nearly any and every opportunity. Whether I’m sad, or happy, want to be alone or talk to someone, I will choose to go outdoors if it’s an option. I even hold work meetings outside when the weather is nice! Being outdoors and breathing fresh air has an invigorating effect that clears my mind and makes me want to smile – it’s a stress reliever.
In particular, I love going outdoors in the early morning or for sunset – when the light is golden and creates long, dramatic shadows. The air is often the most fresh then, and the sky changes colors. Experiencing these changes often make me think about the day that’s coming or going, and I will often contemplate about the world, whether it be just relevant to my life or global affairs. I’m often inspired by the beauty around me, and sometimes impressed by the forces with which nature can impose changes in the landscape, such as when it is incredibly windy, foggy or even crystal clear.
Scientific research confirms that spending time outdoors can be beneficial to our health, and there is a positive correlation between physical activity and time spent outside. For example, older adults are the least likely to spend time outdoors compared to other age groups – and they are also the least active. Likewise, youth living in suburban areas are more likely to spend time outdoors than rural youth, and the time spent outdoors by these groups has a positive relationship with how much physical activity they tend to get. Ironically, the kids with the most nature surrounding them choose not to spend as much time in it! Even in highly polluted Beijing, spending time outdoors can benefit health, like your eyesight.
Especially because we spend so much time sitting around for work, eating, watching entertainment and socializing, the outdoors provides us with a break from a regular schedule. Exposure to sunlight, wind, rain, temperature changes and various nature smells boosts our senses and reminds us to be thankful for the world in which we live.
One of my favorite American writers, Ralph Waldo Emerson dedicated a significant amount of his time to nature. Here is a quote I find particularly inspirational: “In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows. Nature says,–he is my creature, and maugre all his impertinent griefs, he shall be glad with me. Not the sun or the summer alone, but every hour and season yields its tribute of delight; for every hour and change corresponds to and authorizes a different state of the mind, from breathless noon to grimmest midnight.”