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With the soaring costs of healthcare, many wonder what can be done at home to get healthy so they’re not as dependent on the medical system. Have you ever purchased a prescription and were shocked at the price? Better yet, do you wonder what steps you can take to help you to possibly get off medication all together? A good question you may have asked yourself is – “What is the cheapest medicine that will make a huge impact on my health?

The answer to that question may surprise you. This “medicine” is not found in a bottle or obtained with a prescription. In fact, this “medicine” doesn’t cost anything, and the dosage is quite easy to manage.

This medicine is NATURE.

Let me ask you – When was the last time you took a walk outdoors? When was the last time you walked on the earth shoeless? When was the last time you sat outside in the sunshine listening to the sounds of tiny, industrious insects or gazed at a magnificently colored butterfly as it traveled from one flower to the other? And, finally, when was the last time you actually picked or grew your food instead of purchasing it at a grocery store?

Let’s face it; life has become more complicated. As a result, we are losing our connection with Nature. In fact, this disconnection has a name, Nature Deficit Disorder. As a consequence of this problem, people are more stressed, unhealthy, and unhappy. And preventable diseases are escalating at an alarming rate. 

Did you know that for the first time ever, more than half of the world’s people live in cities and not farm or suburban areas. I love city life, but it does have a downside – fewer trees, more concrete, busier lives and less connection with Nature.

It is becoming increasingly rare to see children playing outside. In my neighborhood, the school bus drops the kids off, and then they disappear behind their front doors; and you don’t see them again until the next morning when they resurface to catch the school bus again.

Nature deficit disorder was coined by Richard Louv in his book, “Last Child in the Woods.” He maintains that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors resulting in a wide range of problems. Louv stated that “nature-deficit disorder is not meant to be a medical diagnosis but rather to serve as a description of the human costs of alienation from the natural world.”

Connecting with Nature by apple picking

Our bodies weren’t born to exist in a four-wall structure with artificial air. Nor were our feet designed to touch carpet only. We were born to thrive in Nature. What happens when we remove a fish from water?  It will soon die because fish get their oxygen from the water.  Can we see a parallel with humans?  Sure, we breathe in oxygen around us, but we are dependent on much more.  We need fresh air, sunshine, and the energy from the earth.  We might not die as quickly as a fish out of water, but we will be disconnected from Nature, and that is harmful not helpful to our existence.

Here are some interesting facts about what happens to us when we connect with Nature:

  • Quicker Recovery – When people are exposed to Nature, they recover from surgery much faster and require less medication.
  • Better vision – Outdoor activity may have a protective effect on the eyes, reducing the risk of developing nearsightedness (especially in children).
  • Increased Vitamin D levels – Decreased Vitamin D levels are at epidemic proportions.  Instead of taking a pill, just 15 – 20 minutes outside in the sun has been shown to be greatly beneficial.
  • Health Benefits – Those that connect with Nature experience lower blood pressure, reduces stress, uplifted mood and a better functioning immune system.
  • Lower Crime Rates – Communities with more green space experience lower crime rates.
  • Better sleep – People who regularly spend time outdoors tend to sleep deeper and longer and more blissfully

What can you do to take advantage of Nature?

1. Resolve to spend at least 15 – 20 minutes each day outdoors. You don’t necessarily have to do anything physical. You can take a chair outside and sit quietly as you soak in the sunshine and fresh air.

This will reap huge rewards because if you are like many folks, you leave your house in the morning to drive to work. You walk across the parking lot to your place of employment and usually remain sitting behind a desk all day. When your day if finished, you walk back across the parking lot to your car.

If you’ve had a stressed day, you may only have the energy to go through a drive-thru for dinner, and then once you arrive home, you take the short walk to your front door. You’ve had maybe 15 minutes of outside air for the entire day.

2. Depending on the season, why not make an appointment with someone to go pick something.

Apples are amazing and delicious in the fall, especially ones that are freshly picked. In the summer, there are blueberries, strawberries and all types of fresh produce to harvest. If you have children, this is a fun and educational way to help them understand that their food had a history before the grocery store.

3. Piggybacking on item 2 above, why not start a garden? If you don’t have enough room in your backyard (or don’t have a backyard), use pots instead. Contrary to the belief that you need a large plot of land to grow food, it actually takes only a small area. Herbs can be grown on windowsills, for instance. The satisfaction and connection with Nature are priceless.

4. Bring Nature into your space. In addition to the above suggestions, why not buy yourself a bouquet of flowers each week. The scent and look of beautiful flowers really lift the mood and helps you connect with Nature. If you don’t want flowers, buy plants and put them in various places throughout your home or office. They are good for the environment and help clean the air. A bowl of pinecones, pebbles, or colorful autumn leaves, although simple, helps you to connect with Nature.

So, what is the cheapest medicine?  It is connecting with Nature. The above suggestions are not new or foreign. But they can seem to be so due to our fast-paced lives in this modern era. Civilizations that have a strong bond with Nature and the outdoors tend to live longer, happier lives.  Why not give it a try?  It costs nothing but the rewards are priceless!



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