“Nature can be beneficial for mental health. It reduces cognitive fatigue and stress, and can be helpful with depression and anxiety.” –Irina Wen

Nature has been my recovery partner. And, continues to nurture me every step of the way along this life journey. Nature has helped me in every way Irina Wen mentions in the quotation. Does nature have an impact in your life?

On a cold and unseasonably rainy day in Arizona, I was at my desk working on the Recovery Connection Line. The phone line was as busy as the pouring rain outside. It takes focus. And, like any job, has stressful moments; this was one of those times.

There are distant sounds that become very routine when working from home. The sound of passing cars or hearing a passerby‘s boisterous voice now and then. A jet plane flying over. Sometimes, I actually can hear very noisy geese flying overhead, and they’ll make their presence known.

However, this particular day after the pouring rain stopped beating on the roof, I briefly noticed that the sun was finally coming out as some clouds gave way. Then something happened that took me out of the routine ordinariness of my remote workspace. I was focusing on the caller I had on the line when I heard the most beautiful sounds coming through my senses. It might have remained only routine background noises, but the captivating sounds of the birds singing became so uncharacteristically loud—especially for that time of day. Normally, this would be something one would only notice upon waking in the stillness of the morning as the birds sing their chorus. I think the birds must have been celebrating that the rain had stopped, and the sun was out again! Their singing momentarily mesmerized me. I smiled. It was so soothing, grounding, and calming on this hectic day.

I was given an experience of joy in the midst of everything else. It didn’t disturb my work—it enhanced it. I remember how much gratitude I felt for the melodious song of the birds and how it brought me right into my heart and enlarged it. The stress was mitigated, and I felt rejuvenated and ready for whatever came next.

I invite you to pause (just for a moment) and recall—what was the last nature experience that enhanced your mental health and well-being? How does even the memory of it make you feel right now? Capture it and let it do it’s mystical work within you!

Cheri Thomas

Cheri works as a Peer Support Specialist for RI in Arizona. She has experienced loss and grief which has led her to write for the masses to bring voice to those in similar situations. Cheri possesses a deep passion to share with, encourage, and inspire others on what she calls the Journey of the Heart.