Pamper the nature lover in you

Pamper the nature lover in you

Did you know that we were all born with an innate love for nature? Yet, we have somehow managed to disconnect ourselves from this root. It is time to bring it back to life, urges Surabhi Johri.

Close your eyes and imagine yourself in these different scenarios. Under a coconut grove, near a lapping seashore... Walking through a flower-filled meadow surrounded by butterflies, trees and birds... Watching mountains and waterfalls... Looking at emerald lush fields... Looking at forest trees with light rays streaming through canopies... Hearing the music created by a nearby gurgling stream... Reading a book on a hammock under a tree with birds and breeze for company... Driving through the serene tea estates... Do any of these make you anxious? Highly unlikely.

Ever wondered on vacation spots, what hotels charge us for? Mostly, for the scenic location, and the premium ones up their charge for the thoughtfully-created ambience that makes guests feel relaxed and rejuvenated amidst the natural beauty. We don’t mind burning a hole in our pockets to be transported to an environment that makes us feel in sync with our inner self. More calm and peace, less agitation. No one instructs us to feel this way; it just starts happening automatically.

Human beings have biophilia. It is an innate love for the natural world. Through ages, it is amidst natural settings that we have lived. At the very core, its our home. This inner self which feels at home in a desirable environment is the psyche. Psyche is us besides our body - the mind, spirit, soul, the seat of thought, emotion and behaviour. It is responsible for what we feel, how we feel and how we behave. Psyche has a simple but profound language and that is “the feeling” imbibed from surroundings. After genetics, environment has the biggest effect on our psyche.

Environmental Psychology, an interdisciplinary field, studies the influence of our physical surroundings on how we feel, think, react and interact. It explains the inextricable relationship between humans and nature, and confirms that our wellbeing as individuals and as communities is hugely affected by our environment. Architects and urban planners use the research results in designing better living spaces for us, while therapists apply it to help manage mental diseases or physical disabilities.

Sadly, most of us living in the urban setting today live without direct contact with the ground or soil. Mind you, biophilia has still not vanished from our evolutionary DNA, making this disconnect unhealthy. There is an urgent need to get nature back close to our families, to instill harmony and rejuvenate the inner core on a daily basis, even if it is in little doses. Home gardens are the best way to bring nature close to you, to show our children that soil is from where everything starts.There are not many things you can change to reduce the stress of modern living, but this you can do.

There’s ample credible research to prove that children connected with nature develop better cognitive, emotional and behavioural abilities. They grow more in tune with their social and biophysical environments. Nature encourages imagination and creativity and an appreciation for the cycle of life. Life seems to speed by very quickly, especially when you are not paying attention. Growing plants teach us to pause, to pay attention to little things, nurture, and acknowledge that there is always something bigger and beyond, which turns a little seed into a tree.  

Gardens can affect you in myriad ways. Colours stimulate and invigorate, green brings restfulness. Combinations can either jar you or infuse you with harmony. It’s not just the flowers that are fragrant, leaves too can surprise you. A moonlit night on white-flower filled garden is bound to transport you to another realm. Expanses of green rolling lawns is sure to uplift the spirit, while sitting under a flower-covered pergola is a good way to bring families together. Watching the first fruit appear fills you with gratefulness and satisfaction. Each time you see a bud, it fills you with anticipation.

Admiring the majesty of trees is awe-inspiring, whereas witnessing a delicate poppy is sobering. For someone who is limited in ways of normal life due to age or disability, being able to grow or see the bloom on the sapling s/he planted will restore their confidence in a way no able-bodied person can perhaps imagine. That is the power of a garden on human psyche.

On a green path, you will be able to comfortably traverse a longer distance. You will enjoy it. Give yourself and your kids an affinity and appreciation for this. Make them aware, show how to nurture and encourage the practice of growing a patch of green. It will automatically take care of the inner self. Nature works in subtle, but powerful ways. Keep nature close to the biophilic.

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