“Waves are the voices of tides. Tides are life," murmured Niko. "They bring new food for shore creatures, and take ships out to sea. They are the ocean's pulse, and our own heartbeat.”
I love this description of the waves and the tides from magical Sandry's Book. The waves are the voice of sea speaking its truth and its heart beat. If we stop and listen to the waves crashing on the shore, we can hear the sound of the ocean. The sound of its pulse, and feel the sound of our own heartbeat. Listen long enough, and our heartbeat begins to move in rhythm with the sea and we gain that mystical sensation of being one with the universe. A profound and empowering sensation.
But it is rare that we actually can stop long enough, or can listen long enough. We have this crazy life which is full, full, full. Full of information, full of noise, full of things one has to do, full of not feeling good enough, full of missing out, full of choices, full of things to do, places to go and people to meet.....except maybe not for you. Maybe you are the one that is 'stuck at home'? Maybe everyone else is getting together at Starbucks or Subway, but not you? Maybe weekends are booked up, but not with you? When we see our fiends and class mates all out together having fun, it can feel quite alienating and lonely. Thoughts like, 'why am I not there?', 'what have I done wrong?', 'why do they hate me?', begins to circulate around your mind, and you begin to feel sad and lonely. With everyone telegraphing every second of their 'fantastic' day, it is almost impossible not to have these thoughts. The fear of missing out is a real concern. No body wants to feel that they are being excluded and are not having the life that others are having.
It is though, an illusion. Photographs are just one tiny fraction of time in a full 24 hours of normal day, where practically nothing happens. Eating, getting dressed, travelling to and from school and activities, sitting watching TV, doing homework. Everyone is doing this, all the time. So for 23 hours of the day you are doing exactly what everyone else in the world is doing. And that is just living, breathing and just being.
And the best way and the most healthy way you can just be, is to listen to the sounds of nature. Research has shown that if you live in urban environments then you are more susceptible to stress then those that live in rural areas. This is because nature is so good for you, and the sounds of nature heal your soul.
There is even a study that shows kids can have 'nature deficit disorder', where behaviour problems are believed to stem from spending too little time outdoors.
The Japanese are very aware of this. They have a thing called "Shinrin-yoku," which means "forest bathing" or spending time in a forest. Encouraging people to get out and spend time in nature benefits your physical and mental health because being in the forest air you are able to breathe in beneficial bacteria, plant-derived essential oils and negatively charged ions.
And through this, cognitive functions improve. A study of 2600 children between 7-10 showed better attention and improved working memory for those who spent more time in green spaces. Those microbes are simply good for your brain development!
So get outside, walk, run or skip through nature. Breathe in the air and listen to the sounds. Find your heart beat. We are all part of nature and the more time we spend closer to it the better.