Nature's Escape

 
Dear Addie,

One of the most famous scientists of all time was named Albert Einstein.  Did you know that many experts believe he was autistic as well?!

Anyway, he once said "Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."

I find this quote from the good Dr. Einstein particularly interesting as it relates to you my dear, because no matter the circumstances, you LOVE being one with nature. 

No matter the season or place, from the sweltering Texas summers, beautiful NC springs, to freezing NY winters, being in mother nature's playground is a calming and peaceful place for you, and while most children love to play outside, for you my dear it is particularly calming and therapeutic. But why?

I recently received a note from your teacher that described how challenging it is becoming to keep you inside the classroom and preventing you from running out the door to the outside. We both know how much you want to go outside to play with leaves! Side note: Your teachers are amazing and are truly dedicating in helping you in every way possible!

 

I immediately began to list your favorite snacks, books, and toys - anything I could come up with to tell your teachers to use as incentive to keep you inside. 

But, then I thought - wait.  Why is my little Lewis and Clark inspired girl so driven to be outdoors?  God knows, I am the least outdoorsy person on Earth (my idea of camping is s'mores at the fire pit on the stone patio of a luxury hotel...).  Is my daughter destined to grow into a sheepskin clad, mountain climbing, frontier woman?  One never can tell.  (And - if you did, I would love everything about it and you as I do today).  

But, back to the here and now. As I often do when learning about you, and all the amazing things you do, I decided to do some research.  As is often the case, there is actually some science that helps to shed some light (our man Al would be proud).

It turns out that direct contact with nature increases mental health and psychological and spiritual development.

There are more than 100 unique studies that show outdoor recreation reduces stress. Just by simply observing nature; leaves blowing, water trickling down a stream, rain or snow falling from the sky, or the wind blowing (one of your favorites), creates a more positive attitude, sharper focus and attention, mindfulness, and sensory awareness. In other words: being outside in nature can be like a total regroup for the brain.

Raising Us | Holly Springs, NC

Raising Us | Holly Springs, NC

I guess that's why people who are stressed or frustrated often will go outside to take a walk to decompress.

In nature, there are no social pressures, no standards or demands for you to meet.  What you are seeing, hearing, and experiencing at any moment is changing not only your mood, but how your nervous, endocrine, and immune systems are working.

One of my favorite things (and yours too) is when we go to the beach - listening to the waves crashing against the shore is pure bliss. There is a reason this place is so soothing to us!  The sun's warmth on our skin gives us Vitamin D that helps with calcium absorption and building strong bones.  But in addition to that, Metabolic pathways for vitamin D have been found in the hippocampus (the part of the brain that is involved in the formation of new memories, learning, and emotions).  It is also an important nutrient to your cerebellum (controls movement, coordination, balance, equilibrium and muscle tone).

All that from a little sunshine!  Mother nature knows what's up!

Now back to the beach...

The beach also supplies magnesium which we absorb through our skin from the sand and salt water. Magnesium helps with lots of things, but It also plays a key role in keeping a healthy immune system, maintaining heart rhythm, and building strong bones.

So while we think we're just vegging out and enjoying some relaxing time, we are actually using nature to help our bodies. 

 

Raising Us | Holly Springs, NC

Raising Us | Holly Springs, NC

So, now I feel I have a better understanding to why you are headed out to watch the leaves blow, there is so much good You get from this!  But keeping you in the classroom may take some more research on my part of how to bring nature in to you ;) 

I love you, Addie. 

Love, 

Mom