A recent study (featured in this Huffington Post article) reported that people who spend time in a forest deliberately engaging with nature experience lower stress levels. This is a fact that many of us know intuitively and have experienced firsthand after a walk, hike, bike ride, or other activity in nature. We don't need any research to confirm that fact. Even the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson recognizes that being away from nature can in fact be detrimental to our health and stress levels:
Who leaves the pine-tree, leaves his friend,
Unnerves his strength, invites his end.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Woodnotes"
We certainly don't want to "invite our end," so join me in deliberately engaging with nature via this lovely photo from Washington's own Olympic National Park. Although not the same as being there in person, this photo is still amazing and will inspire you to get outdoors!
Peace and tranquility just emanate from this photo! Thoreau's "sweet and beneficent society in nature" is perfectly illustrated in this scene, as the vine maples seem to invite you to lie down in the soft green grass beneath their mossy branches and let your cares fade away.
I can feel those cortisol levels dropping already!