How Much of Your World Are You Missing?

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. – Albert Einstein

A recent news item about ways to be happier and healthier included the suggestion to take a break by going outside the workplace and enjoying nature. According to the article, studies show you can lower your blood pressure by doing this for only a few minutes.

That seemed like an easy bit of health advice to follow and mindful of other research that says having a pet also lowers stress, I recently decided to combine these two scientific findings by taking Buddy-the-spoiled-dog for his afternoon constitutional.

I should note here that I do not generally find these walks to be relaxing given how stubborn and independent my dog is, but I like to believe that researchers know a whole lot more than me so Buddy and I set off on a stroll into a wooded area near our house.

I was engrossed in thinking about the tasks awaiting my return while tugging on the dog’s leash to keep him from veering off when I spotted some movement on a nearby bush. I dragged Buddy closer and saw a gorgeous brightly colored butterfly amid the bush’s beautiful blossoms.

Then I widened my field of vision and noticed dozens more butterflies happily interspersed with more than a few busy bees enjoying the nectar. As I observed these tiny creatures of nature, I realized I almost missed this visual feast and wondered once again what else I’ve neglected to notice in the world around me.

Not long ago I was driving near my home and a large deer sprinted across the road a few yards ahead. As I slowed to admire it, I nearly missed seeing the tiny fawn trailing several feet behind it and just about to leap in front of my car. The baby was only a few feet tall and still had its camouflage spots. If I had been driving any faster, I might have killed that beautiful young animal.

This realization was frightening -- and a gift. I viewed it as another reminder of how important it is to slow down and appreciate the world around us. Recently I’ve discovered new things along my regular routes – a tiny cemetery tucked between two houses along a busy thoroughfare one day and lovely gardens hugging a fence near another home a few days later.

Has this ever happened to you -- noticing something for the first time even though you've walked or driven past it numerous times before? Think about the routes you travel in a normal day or week.

Do you see – I mean really see – the buildings and views along the way? When you are outdoors, do you truly notice all that’s going on in nature that surrounds you? Is it possible you’re missing things in your world?

This week, try slowing down to take a closer look. You might be surprised at what you find – and do something good for your health at the same time.


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