3rd Pillar – Connection to Earth
Connection to Earth or nature is the third pillar of focus for Firefly. Given that many of us spend a lot of time indoors under fluorescent lights and in front of computers or TV screens, or in our cars, we have lost the sense of connection to the Earth and the cycles of nature. The health of the Earth is suffering as we flatten forests to make room for new development or monoculture crops, create greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming, overfish and pollute our oceans, rivers and lakes, and devastate species. This loss of connection with nature affects our health as well.
Research suggests it's essential for human health to make time to get outdoors. Psychologists and health researchers are finding more and more science-backed reasons we should enjoy the natural world. Studies have shown that spending time in nature boosts memory, energy and the immune system; decreases stress and anxiety; reduces inflammation; lowers blood pressure; improves ability to focus and problem solve; and may even stimulate the production of anti-cancer proteins. A recent study published in Environmental Health Perspectives found that greater exposure to greenness was associated with a 12% lower mortality rate.
I personally experience many of these benefits when I’m out in nature hiking, biking, kayaking and paddle boarding. I much prefer exercising outdoors over going to a gym, and notice a boost in my mood and decrease in stress when I’m in nature. When I’m feeling particularly overwhelmed, walking on the Earth with bare feet helps to ground me and ease my worries.
We want to hear from you. How do you connect with nature and what benefits do you experience?
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