After COVID-19, there has been a spike in mental health issues that has affected people in many ways. Research has shown that green spaces and nature have a positive impact on mental health. Even a simple park with trees can positively impact one’s wellbeing. Gardening has also been shown to be beneficial to physical and mental wellbeing and health. Gardening helps an individual feel oneness with nature, increases happiness, and lowers the risk for many mental illnesses. It is said, “Gardening adds years to your life and life to your years.” -Unknown.Read more
Author: Lizzy LaSota
How Nature has Affected me
For most of my life, I have always felt a oneness with nature. My family enjoyed going to the arboretum throughout the year, but specifically the fall, when the leaves changed colors. Unfortunately, growing up, I lived in a modern suburban area where I was not surrounded by trees. This resulted in my sister and I going to different forest preserves near my house.
One of my favorite forest preserves is Waterfall Glen, located in Lemont, IL. When I was a junior in high school, my family moved to Downers Grove where we were completely surrounded by trees. We moved next to a wetland. Since we have moved in, I have seen an increase in happiness around my household. Everyone is more uplifted because of all the green around us. I remember sitting outside and smelling the fresh green grass and trees and feeling completely at ease, something I was not able to experience living by fake trees.
It was not until quarantine in 2020, that I took advantage of all the new forest preserves around me. Thankfully, where I live there are many forest preserves. My sisters and I enjoyed exploring all the different ones during that time. I loved walking through them or going off the path and finding hidden streams. One of my favorite things to do in a forest preserve is read or journal. There is a sense of peace and happiness that I feel when I am leisurely reading outside.
When I came to U of I, I needed to be outside. I am a transfer student who transferred last year during the height of COVID. I lived in the dorm, which is already a lot on one’s mental, but especially when everything was online and there wasn’t much to do, I needed to go outside. It became a habit for me to take a long walk everyday in the Urbana area where there are lots of trees and green grass. Whenever I was feeling panicked or stressed, I would go on a walk to clear my head. It helped me tremendously. I especially love when it gets a little chilly and I have to wear a coat or sweatshirt when I go on a walk. My friends know how much I enjoy going on my walks, and then recognize how much it helps me. To this day, whenever I need to clear my head or get some fresh air, being outside and going for a walk is the best remedy.
Movie in Nature: Life of Pi
Life of Pi (2012) is an inspirational movie involving a man, Pi Patel, being stranded on a boat with a large Bengal tiger named Richard parker. The movie starts off with Pi living in India with his family at their zoo. The family decides to sell their zoo and move to Canada. During the move, a large storm strikes their boat resulting in many lives lost. Pi, with the tiger, are the only survivors. As you watch this movie, you will see Pi develop a relationship with this tiger, who at first Pi feared. This movie is eye opening, dramatic, and influential. Pi goes through a spiritual awakening while stranded at sea. This move incorporates the importance of humans, animals and nature in life.