I have always felt very connected to nature. As a child I always enjoyed being outside doing activities such as climbing trees, playing on jungle gyms, or swimming when it was warm enough. As I have gotten older, my connection with nature has dwindled some due to more responsibilities, such as more school work and part-time jobs. Moreover, a change in social norms has affected my connection with nature. By this I mean a change in the daily activities our generation takes part in. Our generation and the one below us enjoy spending more time playing video games, browsing through social media and online shopping and less time outdoors appreciating nature. Another factor that has affected my connection with nature is less free time, My day is consumed with classes, shifts at works, and time spent in the library. Even with a plethora of responsibilities in my day I still, however, make time to spend uninterrupted time in outside spaces such as the Cistern, the Battery, Battery Park, and various other parks around Charleston, even if it is just for a moment. I think it is important to be connected to the natural world because it is beneficial to mental and physical health. I find that when I take a moment to stop and look around,taking in my surroundings, it makes me happier and makes my day less tedious and routine. As a part of this assignment, I decided to spend an hour in the Battery Park without my phone. The experience was very enjoyable and beneficial to my mental health. I began to notice the smaller things in nature we often dismiss. I noticed the various colors in a single flower. I focused on the euphoric feeling of the breeze on my skin and the sound of the waves crashing against the sea wall. I observed squirrels scurrying from tree to tree gathering nuts to eat. I felt the feeling of the sun beating down on me, providing me with warmth. In addition, my experience in the Battery Park for an hour left me feeling happier and far less stressed. I dismissed my thoughts about responsibilities and due date I had coming up, as well of other factors in my life and truly lived in the moment. It made me realize the importance of focusing on the natural world. I believe that we all get caught up in the various things we each have going on in our lives and are missing out on the beauty of this world. As a result, statistics show that depression rates are growing steadily with time. I think that if we all took a moment to stop while walking to class or driving to work, and looked around and take in the beauty of our surroundings, we as a society would be a lot happier. After writing this blog post, I have made a promise to myself to spend more time alone in nature, no phone, no people around, just me and nature.
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