Loading

Nature and your soul

Laraine Bennett

Next time you’re feeling a little blue, head for the hills!

Or, right outside to putter around in your own backyard.

A new study reported in the American Chemical Society’s Environmental Science & Technology shows that just five minutes of physical exercise in the presence of nature significantly boosts mental and physical well-being. Walking, gardening, fishing, cycling, boating, or farming—even for as little as five minutes—offers health benefits. Even city dwellers can reap the benefits of “green exercise” if they take a walk or jog in the city park. The study found that water adds even greater boost to one’s mood. (As Water Rat from The Wind in the Willows would say, “there is nothing--absolutely nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”)

But, there’s more. Spending time in nature is also good for the soul.

Pope Benedict didn’t need a research study to recognize the benefits of nature. He writes, “That is why it is so necessary for us, who live constantly in an artificial world of man-made things, to leave it behind and seek to encounter creation in its natural state.”i The pope is not advocating tree hugging or nature worship; he is acknowledging the way the beauty of creation can raise our hearts and minds to God.

And, how necessary this is, for the human soul.

Our daily lives are often hectic and impersonal, with urgent tasks of work and home demanding attention, and the ever present technology at our fingertips—Blackberrys, iPods, iPads, e-mail, and Facebook. Silence, contemplation, and long, intimate conversations seem elusive. Worse, our digital, technological world can obscure God’s presence. Pope Benedict puts it even more emphatically: “God does not come to light in the artificial world of man-made things. So it is all the more necessary for us to leave our workaday world behind and go in search of the breath of creation…”ii

How often we find ourselves becoming aware of God’s presence when we behold the beauty and majesty of nature—whether the brilliant brush strokes of sunset on the beach or the breathtaking peaks of snow-covered mountains. And so Pope Benedict urges us to get away from the daily grind to a place of rest and, most importantly, contemplation. These summer months offer us the perfect opportunity.

 


i Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Seek That Which is Above. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986, 2007.

ii Ibid, p156.

Topics: Faith , Health

Laraine Bennett co-authored, with her husband Art, The Temperament God Gave Your Spouse and The Temperament God Gave You, published by Sophia Institute Press. Their new book, The Emotions God Gave You, is due Spring 2011. Please visit their website at http://temperaments.sophiainstitute.com/.

View all articles by Laraine Bennett

Ads by Google
(What's this?)

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

RECENT POSTS

OUR TOPICS

Abortion (50)  Advent & Christmas (19)  Beauty (3)  Bioethics (4)  Books (55)  Church history (18)  Church teaching (35)  Contraception (28)  Culture (124)  Current Events (101)  Dating (15)  Death (7)  Depression (14)  Divorce (7)  Education (14)  Eucharist (4)  Exercise (3)  Faith (230)  Family (94)  Fashion (5)  Feminism (14)  Fertility (3)  Fitness (1)  Food (3)  Forgiveness (19)  Friendship (18)  Generosity (3)  Girl Scouts (2)  Grieving (1)  Health (23)  Home Management (17)  Humor (15)  Leadership (4)  Lent & Easter (13)  Liturgical Year (11)  Marian devotion (9)  Marriage (38)  Mature Years (5)  Meditations (17)  Mental illness (1)  Mercy (3)  Military Families (2)  Ministry (6)  Miscarriage (1)  Motherhood (60)  Movies (2)  Music (5)  Natural Family Planning (2)  Nutrition (4)  Parenting (45)  Personal Growth (106)  Politics (4)  Pope Francis (6)  Pornography (3)  Prayer (34)  Pro-Life (29)  Psychology (1)  Reflections (9)  Relationships (44)  Religious freedom (11)  Religious Vocation (1)  Saints (17)  Scripture (7)  Service (8)  Sexuality (20)  Single years (4)  Social justice (1)  Social Networking (5)  Special Needs (3)  Spirituality (3)  Suffering (15)  Suicide (1)  Travel (11)  United Nations (1)  Welcome (1)  Women in the Church (7)  Women's Health (21)  Workplace (13)  Writings of the Saints (12)  Young Women (40) 

Dec
21

Liturgical Calendar

December 21, 2014

FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Gospel
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14

Daily Readings


Gospel:: Lk 1: 26-38

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
12/15/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Homily
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: