Remember the last time you took a walk in nature?
There is no instant gratification, it might even be a little uncomfortable, but yet it feels good.
Not good like when you eat sweets or junk food, or when you open Instagram, or when you play a phone game, or when you click on a news article.
Walking in nature feels good as in calm, centered, content. Voices silence. Anxiety quiets. Jitters subside.
There is less rush, less pressure. You can look and think.
What happens to me, your unconscious, when you walk in a forest?
Most of the time I am a mess of conflicting stuff: I am working to process the enormous amounts of information you throw at me with your smartphone and Internet, figure out your status and belonging to dozens of fluid social groups, deal with nonsensical complex work tasks, stress out about domestic tasks, worry with indecision about promotional offers.
It’s generally tiring to be your unconscious. You haphazardly throw a lot of stuff at me without caring about the consequences.
All of this does not disappear when we take a walk in nature.
But I forget about it.
Put me in a natural environment and my survival programming takes over. I discard all the abstract tasks. I focus my attention on the environment.
I look for prey and predators. Listen for them coming. Smell their presence.
I evolved for this. To discover threats in a natural environment. To find solutions to predict what happens around me. To process the information from nature.
You feel calm and content because I am in my element. I am doing what I evolved to do.
Homo Sapiens evolved to thrive in nature, not to peck at computer and stare at small screens.
When you put me in a forest, I am like a formula 1 car on the race track. In my element, doing my thing.
When you are in the modern world, dealing with digital distractions, abstract work, vague stimuli, complex social situations, artificial world, then it’s like you put the formula 1 car on a pothole-filled dirt road on a hilly Indian slum. I am overheated and hurting while still performing badly. And in time I break.
What to do
Get the Formula 1 car on the race track. AKA in nature.
Go take a walk in a forest. Around a river or a lake. Climb up a mountain. By the way, trees also kills of germs and secrete chemicals that make me content.
If you cannot go to a forest, go to a park. It’s not the same, but it’s much much closer than your plastic concrete office.
If you cannot go even to a park, look out the window at some trees or something.
If you cannot even do this, put a damn screensaver with forest on your computer.
But if that’s the case, you should really re-evaluate your priorities. What is so important that it’s worth you breaking your only unconscious? You cannot function without me buddy, so give me some rest (with nature).