Anna’s story from Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness by Dr. Qing Li:
“I have suffered from writer’s block on and off for many years. Just at the point at which I think I will never be able to get down another word and am in despair, I take myself off to the countryside to walk in nature. I have a place I always go to. The air there is very special and it is the first thing I notice. It’s full of wild thyme and rosemary, and often I just stand still and breathe. The smell is especially beautiful after there has been a gentle rain.
“Then I start to look around. As my eyes travel across the landscape, I can almost feel my brain untangling. I can’t tell you how many times I have got to the countryside after being bent over my work for weeks, unable to sort out a problem which just gets knottier the more I try to work on it, and solved it. The only solution for me is to be in nature. Sometimes it is as though the answer I’m looking for is right there in the trees and all I had to do was get there.”
What a magical place this writer’s personal refuge sounds like, doesn’t it? Full of the smells of wild thyme and rosemary. Delicious!
We may not be able to escape to the countryside whenever we hit a knotty writing roadblock, but we can still find solace and even solutions in greenery—a park, a patch of woods, a garden.
According to Dr. Li, Chairman of the Japanese Society for Forest Medicine, “Nature also has the power to help us solve problems and to break through creative blocks. Research at the universities of Utah and Kansas looked at the effect on creative reasoning skills of being immersed in nature for a number of days. The researchers concluded there ‘is a real cognitive advantage to be realized if we spend time truly immersed in a natural setting’, and found that spending time in nature can boost problem-solving ability and creativity by 50 per cent.”
Wow! A 50 per cent increase in creativity just from immersing ourselves in nature! While total immersion isn’t always possible, we can still reap many physical and mental benefits by taking time to sojourn in green spaces and using all our senses to absorb their quiet, calming strengths. Even just looking at our indoor plants or a forest landscape picture can help untangle those knots or ours. Write on!
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