“A Reflection on how contact with the Natural World in Spring Time can help to Rejuvenate and Heal Us”
Spring is here, the first of the four seasons of the year, namely spring, summer, autumn and winter. Meteorologists regard spring as starting on first March and ending on 31st May. Astronomers and scientists use the dates of equinoxes and solstices to mark the beginning and end of the seasons in a year. The Vernal (Spring) Equinox is around the 21st March and this year was on 20th March and it happens when day and night are both approximately 12 hours long with the length of the day increasing with the season.
Wikipedia defines spring as one of the four conventional temperate seasons, following winter and preceding summer. It goes on to describe spring and “springtime” as a time of rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection and regrowth. It is this aspect that will be explored here and how it affects us.
Spring is apparent around us in many ways including the celebration of Easter, warmer weather, spring flowers, leaves beginning to unfurl, birds nesting and lambs being born. The days get longer and when British Summer Time begins at the end of March we have lighter evenings.
While our external world changes we respond from our internal viewpoint. Sufferers of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) are released from the sometimes-crippling affects of low mood and sadness, which can begin as early as October and last until spring arrives. Whether this has been medically diagnosed or experienced in a milder form, many of us do feel worse in the winter and it is believed that lack of light and low temperatures contribute to the condition.
Springtime is a time to come out of ‘hibernation’ and look around. It is increasingly appreciated in the concept of self-care that we should look to nature to gain an understanding of how we can rejuvenate ourselves in the springtime and make positive changes. Getting in touch with nature is known to be therapeutic and helpful for both physical illnesses and emotional distress.
After a long winter the warm sunshine and emerging natural world can fuel an increase in bodily energy. Being Mindful of our bodies and nature around us and allowing ourselves to enjoy and appreciate nature can release sufficient energy to contribute to an improvement in our wellbeing.
It is important to look after our selves in a holistic way, which includes attention to our physical, intellectual, emotional and social needs. Once the days begin to lengthen it can be easier to achieve this when opportunities arise to get outside into gardens, parks and public spaces and to travel further. Retaking up walking, cycling, gardening and other activities promotes good health and can contribute to a sense of wellbeing.
Spring is a time of new beginnings and growth in nature and this can stimulate motivation for change in people. It is a time when stressful situations might be addressed and worked on to achieve greater satisfaction, peace and happiness. This might require resources to be reviewed and motivation, resilience and bravery re-found and built upon in order to make a difference.
Natural and manageable strategies to lift the mood can include bringing nature in doors especially with the unpredictable nature of the British weather and for those with limited access to the outdoors. A flowering plant, bowl of hyacinths, jug of daffodils or vase of tulips offer fragrance and an injection of colour into any room in the home.
As flowers, plants and trees emerge and burst open with the seasons they can give great pleasure and association with times gone by. At the end of winter and in early spring snowdrops, crocuses and primroses open and are quickly followed by narcissus and flowering shrubs and trees such as forsythia, magnolia and cherry blossom to name but a few. Countless poets have written odes to nature and springtime and one example that springs to mind is William Wordsworth’s “Host of golden daffodils” in “I wandered lonely as a cloud”.
Related to our exploration of how the energy and colour of spring can be tapped into to give pleasure and appreciation, Steve Taylor Ph. D., author of “Out of the Darkness” reports on a powerful kind of therapy that has become popular known as ecotherapy. This connectedness with nature costs nothing and only requires a little effort and imagination to embrace nature in all its glory. In 2007 researchers at the University of Essex found that, of a group of people suffering from depression, 90% felt a higher level of self-esteem after walking through a country park and almost 75% felt less depressed.
Springtime is a good time to review health and wellbeing in a holistic way and talking to someone you trust can help on the journey to a happier and more satisfying way of being. We are all different and for some of us joining groups can be motivational to address issues e.g. starting and keeping to a diet or in addressing addictive issues. In addition, for any of life’s stresses, illnesses or difficulties it is good to make sure you get the right amount of sleep, eat healthily and get enough exercise.
In summary, to appreciate nature and get in touch with rebirth, growth and connectedness within the natural elements can contribute towards a sense of meaning, inner joy and harmony. This in turn can contribute towards a sense of connection with others and provoke awakening moments when our vision of the world becomes more intense and beautiful. Rejuvenation, healing and acceptance of what we can’t change are likely to occur naturally when we become attuned to nature, relaxed and open to new beginnings.
April 21, 2016, 12:22 pm