There is a general consensus that spending time outdoors is good for you. Fresh air to revive the senses, sitting by a stream to calm the spirit. We know these activities are not only good for us, but feel wonderfully refreshing, even euphoric.
Like many activities that have been practiced throughout the ages, modern science is backing up what we’ve experienced empirically for so long. In 2015, Stanford University completed two studies on spending time in nature, one studied the psychological effects and the other was a cognitive neuroscience study. Not surprisingly, both studies showed dramatic differences between individuals who took a walk in nature compared to those who took a walk in an urban environment. One marked difference between the groups was the abatement of “brooding thoughts” in the group who had been in nature. “Brooding” or “rumination” was defined as repetitive, nagging thoughts with negative and self-critical messages. This internal chatter and self-criticism leads to serious depression and severe anxiety in some, though it is familiar to all of us. Fortunately, many practices have been developed over thousands of years that help us free ourselves from our own worst enemy. Practices like meditation, prayer, yoga, selfless service, self care, body work… all have shown to deliver us from our merciless inner judge. Past generations may have not needed to include “spending time in nature” in their self-care activities, as that was once a staple of daily life, but in this day and age, as more humans inhabit urban, concrete environments, an effort must be made to get our needed dose of greenery and fresh air.
This communion with nature as spiritual practice was built into the design of Osmosis. We recognize it as a key element to healing, rejuvenation, and mental and physical wellness. The majority of our grounds are designated to giving our guests unique experiences in nature. We encourage each of our guests to find a cushion beside the Heart Mind Pond in the meditation garden and open to all of their senses, or lay in the Field of Hammocks while swaying in the breeze listening to meditative sound therapy music. A massage in an outdoor pagoda, a walk through the forest, lunch beside Salmon Creek… these all offer a healthy dose of outdoor tonic.
Henry David Thoreau reminded us that “we need the tonic of wildness.” Do yourself a favor this month and spend some time out of doors, whether it be in the Osmosis gardens, the Sonoma Coast, or your own backyard. You deserve it.