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Nature and its role in your mental health

Posted by @lisalucier, Oct 30, 2017

My family and I just returned from a trip to Hot Springs and Lake Ouachita, Arkansas, as well as a visit to see family who live on a country property in the South.

It occurred to me after walks among Arkansas’ beautiful trees, boating on the peaceful and glass-like Lake Ouachita, and then sitting outside reading my book surrounded by ponds and foliage on our relatives’ property that a good infusion of nature really helps me relax, put aside any anxieties and uplift my spirits.

I’ve also noted that over time, members on Mayo Clinic Connect, like @paracat , @predictable , @rosemarya , @artscaping , @johnbishop, @windwalker, @amberpep, @virtuous69, @megan123, @parus, @hopeful33250, @IndianaScott, @disneyfan and @peach414144 have all mentioned nature or posted photos of elements of the outside world.

I suspect that others also find that nature has positive effects in their lives. Wondering if you would share what you feel the role of nature has been in your mental health?

REPLY

Helllllloooo. I agree with u totally. I think whatever we find that works to help us with the emotional part of living with this chronic disease, can be even more important than eating healthy and exercise. For me, taking walks at the cottage, and being one with nature, calms the nerves, as well as exercise and trying to eat healthy✌️

I used to really like backpacking when we lived in California and I was a gazillion years younger. My favorite hiking area was the Sierras in Kern county. Since my legs keep me from doing much walking I’ve found a friend in my outside window in my computer room. I set up a couple of bird feeders and am always reminded of how beautiful nature can be and at the same time how some of God’s little creatures struggle just as much and maybe more than we do. One particular day I was feeling a little down and looked out the window and saw a squirrel with a bot fly tumor on his neck. It was winter and I threw extra sunflower seeds for him under the feeder since I added a guard to keep him off. And it’s an extra joy for me when I see a pleated wood pecker.

John

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Beautifully said✌️

@johnbishop I am a green person and now I am really green…a Pileated outside your window. Oh, you are truly blessed. Old timers (pre oldies, but goodies) called these Lord God Woodpeckers because of their size. WOW!!! Thanks for sharing from an avid birder.

a morning glory or a hummingbird shows the miracles that come with nature. they all belong together for without the other they cannot exist. we belong somewhere in the picture all needing each other. humans must stop ruining this planet or we destroy the glory, the beauty and all we are so lucky to have. appreciate nature and humanity. with love peach

@parus

@johnbishop I am a green person and now I am really green…a Pileated outside your window. Oh, you are truly blessed. Old timers (pre oldies, but goodies) called these Lord God Woodpeckers because of their size. WOW!!! Thanks for sharing from an avid birder.

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Hi @parus, thank you for that tidbit of information. I had not heard they were called Lord God Woodpeckers by the old timers. They are most definitely impressive when you see them up close. I have seen them 2 or 3 times in the past month but I’m usually not ready with my camera setup to get a picture. I’m trying out a new feeder specifically for the pileated woodpecker so hopefully it will bring one in closer.

John

@peach414144

a morning glory or a hummingbird shows the miracles that come with nature. they all belong together for without the other they cannot exist. we belong somewhere in the picture all needing each other. humans must stop ruining this planet or we destroy the glory, the beauty and all we are so lucky to have. appreciate nature and humanity. with love peach

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yes, i am still holding my breath after seeing a pair of pillated woodpeckers from 15 years ago. i am lucky to have a small forest as my backyard. the variety of birds at my bird feeders, the squirrels, the owls, lizards and sometimes bunnies, etc. beautiful, the imagination begins the smile takes over and you want to remember these scenes forever putting it in your memory box of a mind. a tree is a living thing and we should never take all of this for granted.

I absolutely love the woods. Just the smell, the little plants people usually don’t take the time to look at, walks for enjoyment. The house my now X and I built, which we’ve been out of for 15 years and sold when we split up, was located in what they call a climactic forest which means the trees had never been cut. We had some oak trees that were enormous around and tall, tall, tall. We built a screened porch on the back and I just savored the time I could sit out there at night, smell the night air, hear the birds going to bed, and watch the bats come out swooping around. I loved it. Sitting on a log, reading a good book is heaven ….. of course I’d also need a glass of sweet tea.
abby

@johnbishop

I used to really like backpacking when we lived in California and I was a gazillion years younger. My favorite hiking area was the Sierras in Kern county. Since my legs keep me from doing much walking I’ve found a friend in my outside window in my computer room. I set up a couple of bird feeders and am always reminded of how beautiful nature can be and at the same time how some of God’s little creatures struggle just as much and maybe more than we do. One particular day I was feeling a little down and looked out the window and saw a squirrel with a bot fly tumor on his neck. It was winter and I threw extra sunflower seeds for him under the feeder since I added a guard to keep him off. And it’s an extra joy for me when I see a pleated wood pecker.

John

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John @johnbishop – it must have been painful to see the squirrel’s tumor and not be able to do anything about it – except give it extra seeds. I see you have a kind heart.

My wife grew up on a farm out of Chowchilla, and we lived in Merced for a number of years before moving to Oregon. My parents retired in Fresno, to be close to one of my sisters, who lived there.

My wife is the bird expert in our home. She knows what they are, while I just enjoy watching them. I think we have a white barn owl in one of the elms in the backyard. We have lots of red tailed hawks and bald eagles helping me keep the ground squirrel population down on our ten acres.

When we moved here 12 years ago, the landscaping around the house had pretty much been ignored and allowed to die, so I basically had a blank slate. I’ve enjoyed putting in a combination vegetable/perennial garden, an orchard, and plantings all around the acre or so of yard. It’s my spring/summer/fall mental health therapy. Until the pain of pn took hold, I spent 6+ hours a day outside. For now, I have to make do with 3 hours of puttering.

I enjoyed hiking, as well, John. Yosemite, the east side of the Sierra Nevada, local bike and walking trails, and in Oregon, the Cascades, including the John Muir trail. My favorite backpack trip was to the top of Mt. Whitney. What a view!

Enough about my travels.

Jim

@johnbishop

I used to really like backpacking when we lived in California and I was a gazillion years younger. My favorite hiking area was the Sierras in Kern county. Since my legs keep me from doing much walking I’ve found a friend in my outside window in my computer room. I set up a couple of bird feeders and am always reminded of how beautiful nature can be and at the same time how some of God’s little creatures struggle just as much and maybe more than we do. One particular day I was feeling a little down and looked out the window and saw a squirrel with a bot fly tumor on his neck. It was winter and I threw extra sunflower seeds for him under the feeder since I added a guard to keep him off. And it’s an extra joy for me when I see a pleated wood pecker.

John

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Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos of the squirrel and pileated woodpecker. It is touching and so kind of you to give that lovely squirrel extra seeds.

@amberpep

I absolutely love the woods. Just the smell, the little plants people usually don’t take the time to look at, walks for enjoyment. The house my now X and I built, which we’ve been out of for 15 years and sold when we split up, was located in what they call a climactic forest which means the trees had never been cut. We had some oak trees that were enormous around and tall, tall, tall. We built a screened porch on the back and I just savored the time I could sit out there at night, smell the night air, hear the birds going to bed, and watch the bats come out swooping around. I loved it. Sitting on a log, reading a good book is heaven ….. of course I’d also need a glass of sweet tea.
abby

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oh yes, this forest has brown bats as well. the beauty never stops. some of the oaks are 85 feet tall. (watch out for the storms). monday nights when the cub scouts and the boy scouts meet just on the other side of the small forest my dogs and cats sit and listen to the goings on and seem to enjoy it. the birds go still and quiet and all seem to wait for their turn. another living world is going on outside our homes.

@johnbishop

I used to really like backpacking when we lived in California and I was a gazillion years younger. My favorite hiking area was the Sierras in Kern county. Since my legs keep me from doing much walking I’ve found a friend in my outside window in my computer room. I set up a couple of bird feeders and am always reminded of how beautiful nature can be and at the same time how some of God’s little creatures struggle just as much and maybe more than we do. One particular day I was feeling a little down and looked out the window and saw a squirrel with a bot fly tumor on his neck. It was winter and I threw extra sunflower seeds for him under the feeder since I added a guard to keep him off. And it’s an extra joy for me when I see a pleated wood pecker.

John

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Jim@jmhd-I just wanted to say hi to a San Joaquin native. I haven’t heard the word “Chowchilla” in years. Although born in Montana, I grew up in Merced throughout my school years and graduated from Fresno State University. Yosemite really defines me…..my love of hiking, the outdoors and the glacial landscape. I was there at least once a month or so for so many years. I have a photo of me standing next to our car feeding a deer on the valley floor. There is not another car in sight. Those were the days. My “little Yosemite” is Idyllwild in the San Jacinto Mountains where I live now. Tahquitz Rock isn’t quite Half Dome but it is stalwart and spectacular. I am also fortunate to have a home on the Mississippi River in MN…complete with 7 acres and lots to do. I too have had to reduce my efforts outdoors because of Small Fiber Neuropathy and Chronic Myofascial Pain Syndrome…some of which came from falling down a mountain or two. Thank goodness I can still enjoy the river views from the deck and get to see the Pileateds and other seasonal birds…cedar waxwings, finches, orioles, and of course eagles, red shouldered hawks, barred owls and lots of friendly deer. My Myofascial Pain Release Therapist tells me to walk on the earth once a day…..to be connected in mind, body and spirit to nature. That ritual, along with meditation, yoga and mindfulness has protected and ensured my enjoyment of all things natural.

@johnbishop

I used to really like backpacking when we lived in California and I was a gazillion years younger. My favorite hiking area was the Sierras in Kern county. Since my legs keep me from doing much walking I’ve found a friend in my outside window in my computer room. I set up a couple of bird feeders and am always reminded of how beautiful nature can be and at the same time how some of God’s little creatures struggle just as much and maybe more than we do. One particular day I was feeling a little down and looked out the window and saw a squirrel with a bot fly tumor on his neck. It was winter and I threw extra sunflower seeds for him under the feeder since I added a guard to keep him off. And it’s an extra joy for me when I see a pleated wood pecker.

John

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@artscaping – Chris, we miss being close to Yosemite. We have a ton of beautiful photos taken by my father-in-law, brother-in-law, and the many I took. But there are beautiful places all around Oregon to enjoy. I watch the sun set over the Cascades from my recliner, enjoy watching the horses and cows either on our place or the neighbors’. At night we get coyote concerts – really too close for comfort. And there are all kinds of birds. And, unfortunately, deer. Years ago, I thought Bambi when I saw one. Now I see garden marauders. The badgers moved in this summer, which is good in that they feed on the invasive ground squirrels, but they make huge holes. Maybe the coyotes will thin out the badgers.

Nature is wonderful, but it can be messy, too.

Jim

@johnbishop

I used to really like backpacking when we lived in California and I was a gazillion years younger. My favorite hiking area was the Sierras in Kern county. Since my legs keep me from doing much walking I’ve found a friend in my outside window in my computer room. I set up a couple of bird feeders and am always reminded of how beautiful nature can be and at the same time how some of God’s little creatures struggle just as much and maybe more than we do. One particular day I was feeling a little down and looked out the window and saw a squirrel with a bot fly tumor on his neck. It was winter and I threw extra sunflower seeds for him under the feeder since I added a guard to keep him off. And it’s an extra joy for me when I see a pleated wood pecker.

John

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hello jmhd. just to bring in a little bit of humor. i watched the “jackie gleason” show for many years when he refers to “the yellow bellied sapsucker” as a bit of humor in his show. just decided to see if there really is such bird. does it exist? i looked it up and YES there is such a bird and i think i saw one at my bird feeder. another small miracle of life. .

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