Walking through the park, woods or just through my neighborhood (it’s quiet and near the river), I get a great sense of calm.
In the recent past, I have experienced this gift from God in a more intimate manner. I spend lots of time in my backyard woods. I say backyard woods, because our house stands about 20 feet away from our wooded property.
As a kid , I always had a curiousity about the trees, plants, animals, bugs, sun, moon and stars around me. Outside is where I spent most of my time. My mom had to often call for me when it was dinner time.
However, as I grew into young adulthood, my penchant for hanging outdoors waned as I became bogged down with the requirements of life. I also lost the sense of awe for my natural surroundings. In later years after going through divorce and turning my life back to following Yeshua (Jesus), my senses awaken again to the gift of creation that has been given to me.
During this time of intimacy with nature, I have found myself drawing closer to my God. He has taught me valuable lessons and softened my heart from these experiences.
I have no way of explaining what occurs within me. Many times I don’t notice until I later interact with others, especially my wife. Yet, I know the Father is creating a new heart in me just by observing and having an appreciation for His work.
Studies Prove It
I read about a study done in the UK in 2007 comparing depression sufferers in two groups. One group took a walk in a park and the other walked in a shopping mall. The group walking in the mall reported a 45 percent decrease of depression compared to 71 percent of the group walking in the park. In addition, the mall walking group had a 22 percent increase in depression.
In another study by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Chicago public housing occupants where randomly placed a room with a view of trees and grass or view of a barren courtyard. Those with the grass and trees view had fewer aggressive conflicts and incidents of domestic violence as well as less procrastination and more hope of solving there problems than the barren courtyard group.
These studies only confirm what I’ve already experienced personally. So next time you’re feeling a bit down, the answer to your uplift may be a simple walk in the park or your own backyard.