Perhaps there is a silver lining to all that we have been living through in the last few months with Corona Virus.
In the wake of disaster, we have time to reflect on the way we are living our lives, what we may have taken for granted and what we truly value in life. Life itself is fragile and precious, which is something we can all too easily forget when everything is going well and no one is dying around us.
The realisation that you could die, makes you value life so much more. It changes your perspective on what you are doing in the here and now, how you are spending your limited time on Earth and who you are spending it with.
A Change in Behaviour
People across the World appear to be awakening to the idea that perhaps city life is not the holy grail of existence. Crowded streets, high levels of pollution and stressful living conditions are all too common in the busy built up cities.
Vying for a promotion, trying to work your way up the corporate ladder to earn a few more dollars and fighting for a seat seat on the tube all seem way less important in the current circumstances.
The Toll Life has on Health
The truth is, this way of living can take its toll on our physical and mental health. One study showed that high stress levels lead to a decrease in lifespan of almost 3 years. Think about all the stress you’re under when working and living in a city all the time.
The internet has made long distance communication easier and working from home so much more accessible. Those forced to work from home during lockdown are now questioning why they continued to commute 2 hours each way a day to sit in an office when they can do everything from home.
The Never Seen Horizon
If you live in a city, think back to the last time you saw the horizon. A natural horizon, not a concrete one. And what about a sunrise or sunset where you could see the sun rise over a shimmering lake, or set behind some trees in the distance?
I know from personal experience that you just don’t usually see it from within a built up cityscape. Nor can you see any stars at night. All you can see is concrete and man-made mini parks, a lot of which have artificial grass laid down to keep them looking green and minimise maintenance.
We’ve Lost Touch with Nature
When in this city environment, devoid of any natural surroundings, it’s easy to get caught up in it. You start to think small, because you are living in a small, enclosed environment. You start to think your problems and stresses are all there is, which gives them significant power over you.
The fact is, we are all tiny beings in a huge Universe. When you get out of the city, you see the vastness of space at night. You see the power of nature and how insignificant we are in comparison to it, you realise that there are bigger things in life than how much you earn or the argument you had with your boss.
That helps to put things in perspective. It helps reduce stress levels because you feel like there is more out there than just the small concrete cage you were confined to before. Once you get out of the city and into nature, you start to worry less about the small things and appreciate more of the World.
In short, you are able to escape the stresses are strains of modern city life and rise above the clouds, even if for a short time, which helps get perspective on your situation.
Anxiety and depression are believed to be on the rise, even though many would consider our lives are becoming more comfortable, we have more disposable income and a better quality of life. This could be where our environment comes into play.
The environment we are in has been shown to increase or reduce stress and anxiety, so it makes sense that spending more time in a relaxing, peaceful and non-toxic environment will reduce stress levels.
Open the Door to Nature
In order to thrive in life, we cannot forget where we came from. Our natural roots and closeness to nature are still a requirement to our physical and mental well-being.
No matter how advanced we become in technology, it is unlikely that we will lose this need. In fact, as technology becomes more prevalent in our everyday lives, we are likely to require more time in nature so that we can reconnect, relax and de-stress.