We’re all probably well aware of the increasing amount of time we spend with technology, in traffic, on screens and inside the office (or home office). Amid the hustle and bustle of daily life, a little bit of nature can provide a welcome respite. There’s also a growing list of the positive effects of spending time in nature, according to the American Psychological Association. Even a short while with creation is linked to benefits such as improved attention, lower stress, better mood and improvements in empathy and cooperation.
An appreciation for the world around us contributes to our overall happiness and offers an energy perk even when we’re no longer physically near natural elements. Exposure to nature, in any form and for any length of time, fosters a sense of connection to creation. And there’s good news for the environment too. People are increasingly likely to take ecological action when they feel more connected to creation.
One of our Franciscan Ministries has developed a unique way to get some time with nature as part of their commitment to Laudato Si’ and caring for creation. At the Franciscan School of Theology, Director of Student Services and Spiritual Formation Joe Lonergan offers a weekly nature meditation in a campus garden. This intentional time of silence encourages connection to the nature nearest to them and nurtures their other Laudato Si’ action steps.
- Spending time in nature is associated with increased happiness, improved attention, lower stress, better mood, overall well-being and a sense of meaning and purpose in life.
- Take advantage of the nature around you—both green spaces (gardens, trees, parks) and blue spaces (ocean, beaches, lakes, rivers) of any size have positive effects.
- Even if you can’t physically get outside or to a view of nature, virtual exposure like looking at photos or videos of nature can also produce positive effects such as improvements in attention, positive emotions and the ability to reflect on a life problem. – Looking for more Laudato Si’ inspiration? Check out Laudato Si’ Spirit for a library of resources and encouragement for your journey of caring for creation.