By now we all know that being out in nature makes us feel good. But it's not just the fresh air and much needed break from our cellphones and computers. Nature quiets the part of the brain that can't help but to sweat the small stuff (also known as the subgenual prefrontal cortex) reducing stress and restoring our ability to concentrate.
Some studies show we need as little as ten minutes in a natural setting to reap the benefits! Just 10 minutes.
Most years, Autumn sneaks up on us and we don't realize it's here until we see Pumpkin Spice everything everywhere. This year, Autumn has arrived slowly, very, very slowly - for us all. For the world.
Autumn has always been my favorite season and in Eureka Springs, AR, it's breathtaking! Something happens to the energy here. Brisk winds push out the summer heat, take down the leaves and sing through the Ozark hills as the days get shorter.
Campfires in the cool evenings crackle as night falls and the temperatures drop.
Autumn is simply joyful.
That autumn should be joyful is somewhat counter-intuitive. It's a season of change. It's a slow slide into the cold, calm winter season and it's a full-scale immersion into nature's decay. This season should be depressing and dark by it's design but also the time when human beings view it's arrival as a sign that the year is going down in a blaze of glory and another New Year is soon upon us.
This year, this autumn is truly special.
2020 has been a sad year. In fact, according to some researchers recognized in this recent New York Times article, it's the saddest year they've seen in a long while. What we are all contending with differs from person to person, and autumn brings with it a repertoire of pick-me-ups that can offer you an incredible lift if you are open and aware of what's around you every day.
Happiness and joy are different things. Happiness is said to be something that is measured over time. It is a broad evaluation of how we feel about our how our lives are going. Joy, on the other hand, is much simpler and more immediate. Psychologists define joy as an intense momentary experience of positive emotion.
Are you looking for the joy that comes with Autumn?
When I take on a new day, I wake in pursuit of joy, not happiness. I see happiness as a byproduct that comes from moment after moment of joyful experiences.
Joy surrounds Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Here there is whimsy, nature, wellness, architecture, art, music, history, style, community, friendships, love and laughter.
It is simply a joy to be in this landscape of renewal everyday. If we're truly paying attention to the experience around us, a joyful moment emerges. Landscapes have the power to wake us up, recall us to ourselves and stir us out of apathy. Landscapes heal.
Research continues to better understand the emotional impacts of nature, but one thing has been discovered - they seem to parallel the physical effects of plants, which complement our physiology, breathing in our effluent carbon dioxide, and exhaling oxygen. It's all connected. We're all connected.
Get outside friends and experience your Eureka Springs. Take a deep breath and clear your mind. Allow what is around you to envelop you and heal you. "Eureka! You've found it!"