How natural landscapes can enrich your health and happiness

Updated: May 10, 2018

Consider immersing yourself in Canada’s natural elements to cultivate balance

Canada has no shortage of natural gifts. We have the northern lights, lakes, forests, waterfalls, plains, mountains valleys and oceans to explore. We have access to open sky, city parks and national parks. We have four beautiful seasons and we have space, wide open space. And aside from the beauty they offer, there are compelling reasons to make enjoying them a part of our lives.

Modern science and ancient sciences like yoga, Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine, point to the benefits of returning to nature and the impact that the natural elements have on our mood, emotions and overall health and well-being.

Natural landscapes and elemental spaces are charged with oxygen atoms known as negative ions that energize your body, boost your immunity and benefit your mood. A recent studyrecognized that the negative ions found in nature decreased depression. Negative ions are generated by moving water, sunlight, air and earth. When we are immersed in the natural elements, our bodies become charged with negative ions and we feel more connected and happy. Consider how you may feel when you spend time near the water, sit in the sunlight, or stroll in the park.

Professor John M. Zelensky of Carleton University and Associate Professor Elizabeth K.Nisbet of Trent University, found results indicating that "our connection to nature may be a path to human happiness and our relationship with nature is a significant and distinct predictor of many happiness indicators." Numerous positive psychological and physiological health benefits were also found in a study on nature therapy and the traditional Japanese practice of nature immersion, known as Forest Bathing or Shinrin-Yoku (SY).  The findings indicated that "individuals who interacted with green spaces reported to be more energetic, in good overall health and, have more of a sense of meaningful purpose in life." We are a part of nature. When we balance the elements around us and invite in more natural space, it can facilitate mental clarity and the feeling of inner spaciousness that is calming, healthy and rejuvenative. Being in nature helps us to concentrate and use our natural senses to navigate through the wilderness, amplifying our innate instincts and awakening our cognitive ability.

All of this may provide a balance to some of the less ideal implications of being indoors, surrounded by appliances, wifi, working on computers, using cell phones and other electronic equipment. Electronic devices produce an electromagnetic field (EMF) that may have adverse effects on health including, "sleep disturbances, he