I am a true introvert. Don’t get me wrong though, I enjoy conversations whether it be with close friends or an average small-talk scenario. But after a long day of social interaction, I welcome solo activities to refresh myself. And you know what? Outdoor activities happen to be some of the best refreshers I have ever encountered. Here’s why:
No Required Conversation
You’re hiking, and you’re focused on not tripping over rocks— there’s also beautiful scenery keeping your eyes engaged at every moment. If you’re with someone, they’re experiencing nature in their own way so conversation is simply understood as not necessary. All you need to focus on are gorgeous surroundings, sore legs and avoiding bears. No phones required.
Skiing is just you and the environment. All you hear is the rhythm of your edges slicing into the snow while the flakes glaze over your ski jacket. Nothing matters except that gratifying moment when you come out of a deep turn and flow into the next. While climbing, the next hand or foot hold is what consumes your mind. There’s no time to think about how you said “I’m good and you” after the acquaintance you ran into had already answered that question just moments before.
Nature is Proven to Rejuvenate
According to the National Geographic Article, “This is Your Brain on Nature” by Florence Williams, “a group of Outward Bound participants…performed 50 percent better on creative problem-solving tasks after three days of wilderness backpacking.” With a fact such as that, I don’t understand why more people don’t use the outdoors as therapy. We talk about super-food fads like kale and acai berries, but don’t pay attention to the consistent healthy aspects of our world. Nature is no longer part of our daily lives, but it should be. Our bodies crave the outdoors, but fads and technology blind us to that desire.
Standing on the top of a mountain or at the edge of a cliff, the vastness surrounding you allows a sense of smallness. A body is nothing compared to the forests and never-ending ascents—worries or fears almost disappear in the face of such enormity.
Even though we’re social creatures, let yourself retreat sometimes. Getting to know yourself and nature isn’t so bad—ditch the social interaction and head outdoors.