As a child, my family did a lot of traveling. My parents loved to visit national parks and forests, state parks, and scenic byways of every kind. As fun as it was, I didn’t really appreciate the beauty of those childhood trips until I was an adult.
One afternoon, while my sister and I were talking about all of our various childhood trips and travels, she told me about her first trip to Sedona, Arizona as a grown-up. She and her husband were going to attend a wonderful, company-paid weekend of rest and relaxation. On their drive up to Sedona from the Phoenix airport, my sister confessed that even though this weekend trip sounded delightful, she had a lot on her mind and was feeling rather stressed. Besides, she was more of an ‘ocean’ girl than a ‘desert’ girl.
So, while she was brooding and remembering about all the responsibilities she should be taking care of instead of spending time in the desert, their car rounded a curve in the road. Suddenly, spread out in front of them was a spectacular sight: Sedona!
The vibrancy and variance of all the colors in the stone formations jutting upwards from the painted landscape to the brilliant blue sky created a vivid, and mesmerizing scene. At that moment, she understood why Sedona is called the “Most Beautiful Place on Earth”. She also realized the stress that had been plaguing her began melting away.
The de-stressing effect is confirmed by a study done at Stanford University, which strongly suggests that getting out into natural environments could be an easy way to improve moods for city dwellers. Researchers discovered that people who visit natural environments have lower levels of stress hormones immediately afterward than people who have not recently been outside.
Nature writer for the National Geographic, David Gessner also explains that science is proving what we’ve always known intuitively: nature does good things to the human brain—it makes us healthier, happier, and smarter.
My husband and I just experienced a wonderful, stress-reducing journey as well. We were able to travel up through the New England states into New Brunswick during this beautiful, fall season in order to visit family and enjoy Canadian Thanksgiving. The trees (especially in New Brunswick) are the stunningly beautiful. They turn every fall color there is to create some of the most enchanting landscapes I have ever witnessed. At some point in our trip, I remembered what my sister had told me about her experience in Sedona. I could relate.
An article in Mental Floss offers 11 Scientific Reasons Why Being in Nature is Relaxing. It turns out that spending time in the great outdoors has been scientifically proven to reduce stress levels, help you find clarity, and rejuvenate your mind and body.
In spite of our busy lives, isn’t there a few moments we can devote to soaking in a bit of natural beauty. Listen, what do you hear? Is it the call of the (beautiful) wild?