It was nearly 70 degrees today, and if you live in the Midwest, 70 degrees in February is just as strange as hearing about snow in Florida in June. Yet, the weather didn't care that it was acting against expectation. It did what it wanted, and so we basked in the uncharacteristically warm WINTER weather.
I let the boys nap in our new hammock while I read. With their little arms around me, I soaked up their cuddles. As I listened to the birds chirp, I thought about how many naps in the history of naps have been taken outside, how much more peaceful it is, and how much longer the boys slept. What was it about nature that made it so peaceful? Obviously, other people agree because a lot of "spa" music is really just nature sounds; even sound machines have brook or wind settings.
Nature makes you happy
What is it about the outside that makes you happy? The answer is in the history books. Or, Aristotle's book to be precise. Aristotle said:
“The happy life is thought to be virtuous; a virtuous life requires exertion, and does not consist in amusement.”
What does that have to with being outside? Many people fall into the trap of looking for happiness in pleasure (amusement). When we are amused or pleased, it is a passive action. Something is pleasing to us. We don't do the pleasing or amusing; we are merely recipients of the pleasure. That's not to say that life isn't made sweeter by such pleasures but a cupcake isn't going to give you lasting joy.
Yet, when we do (rather than being a passive recipient) we have the opportunity to find happiness. We do by serving others, consciously practicing gratefulness, showing kindness to others. If Aristotle was right, then being outdoors and walking/hiking/swimming/kayaking is an exertion too. It is something we must do; it cannot be done to us. Nature helps us find joy because it forces to do. To live. To be present and active in our own life.
Of course, there are many other benefits to being outside.
What do you like to do outside? How do you feel after a long day spent in nature?
Wife & Mama with a passion for peaceful parenting, natural living, homeschooling... and my daily café au lait.