Welcome to the 4th meeting of the Healthy Blogger Book Club, a virtual review and discussion of various holistic books.
Today’s book, The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age, is quite different from other health books, in that it’s more of a long essay:
The author has a previous bestselling book called Lost Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, although I have not read that one. The idea of nature deficiency is very interesting, though, and not a concept I had previously thought about.
The natural world was most definitely part of my childhood, and some of my fondest memories involve being outside in the snow (I grew up in Oklahoma), going hiking with my family in the Colorado mountains during the summer surrounded by wildflowers, having mature trees as part of the everyday landscape, and, after moving to California when I was a pre-teen, becoming familiar with the coastal environment:
I suppose if I look back on my early adulthood, though, I can see how being funneled into the “go to a good college, get a good job, work hard, etc.” paradigm really disconnected me from the natural world. I really can’t remember spending really any significant time in nature during my late teens through late 20s. That’s a decade of disconnection that I know initiated or at least exacerbated my autoimmune-related Hashimoto’s disease, especially if you consider eating processed foods and taking prescription drugs as part of that separation from what is truly natural.
The author of this book, Richard Louv, develops that theory about health and nature, and writes specifically about his father’s decline in mental health as he moved from an outdoor life to a desk job. Not to assume that being outdoors can cure everything that ails us, but Richard cites numerous scientific studies that show at least short-term improvements in mood after being exposed to nature.
Some of the other topics discussed include:
- how being outside and exposed to dirt and natural bacteria is important for our immune systems
- an alternative nature-based education for children or adults that counter-balances technology training with a focus on skills such as navigation, time of day awareness, and plant identification
- a new way of thinking about infrastructure and technology that takes into account nature and sustainability
- the idea that our brains contain “nature neurons” that subconsciously connect us to the Earth and the cycles of nature
My biggest takeaway from reading this book is to connect with the natural world at least once a day. This can be done in the simplest ways from sitting outside for 15 minutes to choosing a long walk over an indoor gym activity. The minimal requirement can vary for each individual, but should be long enough to evoke a sense of awe for the natural world.
I can’t think of a better prescription for better health and happiness than this simple re-connection with nature:
Now it’s your turn! What are you thoughts about this concept or easy ways to work on getting more Vitamin N (nature)? Please leave your comment below. And, if you have a review of this book or another health-related book, please link up over at my Healthy Blogger Book Club co-host’s blog because she’s hosting this month.
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