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The #1 Source of Joy: Nature

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In past blogs, I talked about a few of the things that make me happy. But I know that what might bring me joy doesn’t necessarily make others happy. For example, I’m elated every time I find money on the street, no matter how small; even a found penny brings me delight. You, on the other hand, might not even want to bend down to fetch a coin that isn’t worth much. Or, you might get an elated, joyous thrill from going on a roller-coaster; for me, it would be torture.

Knowing that each of us has different things that make us happy, I conducted my own small, unscientific study of two dozen people to find out what brings them happiness. There were lots of different responses that bring people joy, like eating ice cream, being around a pet, being creative or getting pleasure from friends and family. But the one thing that got the most commentary was the joy that people got from being in nature.

For example, life coach Rachel S. Heslin, owner of The Fullness of Your Power, says, “What makes me happy is my morning walks. So much of my life seems to be made up of juggling too many things that all needed to be done yesterday. When I go for my walks, I let it all go. I breathe deeply and look at the sky, marveling at the shapes of clouds or the expanse of blue or even the different depths and textures of grey that accompany a storm. I listen to birds talking to each other, delighting in the way they swoop between trees. I notice how the sun (or the breeze, or a chill) feels against my skin…. Everything I do on my morning walks is designed to take me out of my head and bring me back into my body, and it makes me very happy indeed.”

Alex Reddle, the chief editor of the Flirt.com blog, agreed with Heslin. He said, “I feel happy when I watch the skies turning beautiful shades of crimson, purple and gold as the sun sets at the conclusion of another day. Simply feeling the wind ruffling my hair is enough to give me goose bumps because it makes me aware that we are all part of nature. This appreciation is highlighted if I look upwards and catch sight of gulls soaring, their wings gliding along with the same currents of air.”

Reddle continues, “another source of happiness is the ocean. I love to watch the waves rolling in from the horizon, transforming into breakers that crash onto the beach in silvery explosions, their relentless rhythm constant as a heartbeat. Paddling can lead to splashing around, while giving in to the temptation of diving in is even better. There is always a little shock at the unexpected coolness compared to the outside world, but once your body adjusts, the feeling of pulling yourself through the glistening water is magical. Snorkeling is even better. Once you’ve bridged the barrier between land and sea, you see the world as marine creatures do, and you enter a whole new dimension of brilliantly colored fish darting below the glittering surface.”

According to the dictionary, the word happiness means, “a feeling that comes over you when you know life is good and you can’t help but smile.” That is exactly what happens when I look at the box of begonias outside my kitchen window. The plants are ablaze with flowers, different amazing colors, shapes and sizes. It gives me great joy to see them.

What nature-related item is bringing you some happiness today?

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