A Dose of Nature

What is it about the outdoors that gives it such mood-altering properties?

It was a grouchy morning. One of "those" mornings with whining and bickering. As difficult as it can be on those days to get everyone out of the house, time outside always ends up being the perfect antidote for the grouchies. They melt away. It's like some kind of mystical force that makes it impossible for us to stay grumpy when outside.

It's no wonder that the research of Richard Louv (Last Child in the Woods; The Nature Principle), and his colleagues at the Children & Nature Network, supports the idea that children (and adults) gain many physical, emotional and cognitive health benefits when our time in nature is increased. The researchers investigate the possible correlation over the past few decades of the decreased time children spend outside in unstructured, imaginative play, and the increase in a host of childhood health maladies, ranging from obesity to ADHD.

There is just something restorative, energizing, and calming about the natural world that helps all of us feel better. So as tough as it can be to mobilize a particularly crotchety crew, I'll continue to administer a dose (or many) of outside, unstructured roaming time to cure our grouchies.