A daily dose of nature for vitamin “G”
In the Netherlands, getting a dose of nature everyday, is believed to be as vital to one’s wellbeing as any other micronutrients. So much so that is now termed as Vitamin “G” or vitamin “green”. Its benefits are as profound on our health and happiness as any other dietary supplement. We instinctively know, though may not want to believe that the way we spend our days – from car to chair to car to couch to bed – is the farthest thing from the natural world in which we are meant to exist.
According to a recent British study, people who live near the ocean or a forest live longer. Of course, living longer wouldn’t matter much if you weren’t enjoying being alive. It just so happens that a closer connection to nature has also been linked to a greater sense of community, healthier babies, happier seniors, and reduced violence and aggression. We find peace and refuge in the protective power nature brings. Perhaps it is the way our woes and egos become so small and unimportant in the presence of such vast magnificence.
Funny thing about Vitamin “G” though. You can’t get it in a “timed-release” form, like you can with Vitamin B. The ongoing benefits to our wellbeing come with a regular intake. Bringing a seashell home or a pine-scented candle doesn’t do the trick. Physically experiencing nature – swallowing it in on a daily basis – is what awakens our hearts and enlightens our minds.
While Root Gorelick, a professor at Carleton who paddles a canoe into work everyday (after biking to the Rideau River from his home) is getting a hefty dose of “G”, we need only walk through a small park, run along a trail, or bike along the water to inhale a few deep breaths of needed nature.
At the very least, an undistracted walk through the city streets, with calm curiosity and alert attentiveness, can bring that daily dose of peace and movement we may not even realize we are seeking.
“Now shall I walk or shall I ride?
‘Ride,’ Pleasure said;
‘Walk,’ Joy replied.”
― W.H. Davies