To the delight of many in the northern hemisphere, spring is officially here, and as we usher in a new season, many of us are beginning to plan warm-weather excursions for the months ahead. But experiencing the benefits of time spent outdoors does not always require us to travel far. Let’s look at how spending just two hours a week in nature can help support our artistic endeavors.
Many of us who enjoy expressing ourselves through art sometimes find we are inexplicably drawn to the outdoors. There are thousands of examples of artists from all backgrounds— painters and poets to actors, photographers and musicians—who describe feeling a connection to nature, and that connection is often evident in their work. So, what is it about the outdoors that calls to the artist inside?
Beyond exercise and the well-known benefits of vitamin D, there are a number of reasons our inner artist may seek out opportunities to spend more time outdoors, regardless of the time of year. Here are just a few of the ways nature can support us in our creative pursuits.
- When we need help getting into the right headspace to create
Feeling stuck or uninspired in our creative work can be discouraging. If our spirits are low and stress levels are high, almost any activity—even those we truly enjoy—can begin to feel like a chore. One study exploring the benefits of spending time outdoors found that natural environments can in fact reduce our stress levels. By reminding ourselves to venture outside in spite of any negative feelings we’re experiencing in the moment, we can help ourselves move into a better state of mind for creating.
- When we need inspiration for our next piece of work
It’s generally understood that human connection is critical to our physical, mental and emotional well-being, and the same has been said of our connection to our natural environment. Outdoor activities like walking, skating or cycling can be effective in helping us clear our heads and can even lead to unexpected encounters that spark new ideas or inspire us to take a fresh approach to our art.
- When we need help focusing on a project
The world is full of distractions and when our attention is divided and we allow ourselves to be pulled in multiple directions, we can end up focusing our energy on less important tasks while struggling to make sufficient time for the important ones. In addition to calming our nerves and providing fresh ideas to fuel our work, nature also provides a renewed sense of focus which can be redirected into our art.
How do you feel when you’re outside? Are you most at home hiking your favorite trails, swimming in the ocean, sitting quietly on a park bench on a peaceful spring afternoon? Our connection to nature is not bound by the season. If you’ve been feeling a sense of disconnect from your life, your art, yourself…try venturing outside to experience the healing effects of nature.
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