This past week, the sun came out full force for the first time since I arrived in Lima over a month ago. The Peruvian capital is notorious for its grey, hazy skies. Since, I’ve experienced a number of positive effects, both physically and mentally, a reminder of nature’s more subtle but powerful influence over my life.

The First Signs of Spring:  One day, while sitting down for a late breakfast, I spotted those blessed rays coming in through the open window. What began as a sluggish morning instantly kicked into high gear. I knew how short-lived the sunshine could be around here; there wasn’t a moment to lose.

I literally sprung up and raced around my room to get dressed,  a cartoon dust cloud trailing behind. I grabbed a novel off my nightstand and burst out the door headed for the park. I was beaming, the twinkle in my eye concealed by my nifty shades.

Once I arrived at the park (chosen for the relatively low height of the buildings surrounding it, allowing for maximum sun exposure) I made a beeline for the sunniest bench. I couldn’t start reading just yet, I had to take it all in. I felt the breeze and listened to the birds. Even they seemed to be celebrating the weather.

You see, since I had begun working from home, I had developed hermit-like tendencies, and the gloomy looking cloud cover hadn’t exactly helped the situation. Now, I was just one quirk away from rolling in the grass like a dog. I resisted the urge, thinking I could just as easily curl up for a catnap. I was invigorated but calm. Don’t get much better than that.

Ever since my days got brighter, my disposition has been sunnier. I have more energy and get more done. I eat less. It’s undeniable, I am impacted by the Mother Nature’s mood swings. It seems I’m not the only one.

Let’s face it, humans have been shaped by nature from day one. In “Your Brain on Nature”, Dr. Eva Selhub and naturopath Alan C. Logan examine the scientific evidence about how our health and well-being are influenced by our relationship with nature.
I haven’t yet read it, but from what I’ve heard on the radio, it’s pretty neat. You can read the first chapter for free here.

The David Suzuki Foundation has something cool going on: they’ve launched an initiative to encourage families to get out and enjoy nature.

So how about you? Can you clear a spot in your schedule for more nature time? Maybe you’re already an outdoorsy person. What does your relationship with nature bring to your life? Think about it.