Why you don’t need to get lost to find yourself

wilditwasWhy do we sometimes feel the need to get lost to find ourselves?

Where did we go?

Are our comfortable, 9-to-5 lives with practically the whole wide world available at our finger tips so bad?

We bask in the glow of our tech products instead of the warm light of the sunrise. We go to a big room full of sweaty humans and various sizes of black iron and rubber objects and machines with levers and pulleys for a few hours each week in order to maintain our physiques instead of chopping wood, tilling the ground and playing outside. We go to warehouses stocked full of delicious and nutritious food from around the world located just minutes from our homes — most of the time we don’t even have to walk to get there. We’re not under constant threat of predators, we don’t go to bed hungry wondering where our next meal is going to come from, and we can generally fair okay in the elements.

Boy, do we have it easy.

So why are we so depressed? So anxious? Why do we feel the need to abuse substances to feel okay? Do the 27 percent of adults in the U.S. who suffer from mental health disorders all need to sell their belongings and go into the woods for a long hike to find themselves, too, like Cheryl Strayed?

Of course not. But just think about that for moment. What is it about nature that soothes our souls? Why is it that the farther we move from the natural environment, the more unhappy we become? If I didn’t get out on the trails at least once a week, I’d be in a much more anxious and stressed state than I already am. As much as I’d love to sell my worldly possessions and take of on an adventure with my backpack right now and write the next Wild or Eat, Pray, Love, I know that won’t fix things. I need to be here on this path I have chosen. I reflect, meditate and get out into nature enough to know what I need to do to live the life I want to live, and right now it’s just a matter of working towards things that will allow me to live, and love, that life.

I’m not really sure where I was going with this post. But I just want you to know that you don’t actually need to get lost to find yourself — in fact, staying right where you are and looking within may help you find the clarity you seek. If you have the means to go an adventure, then by all means, go. Go into the wild. But if you can’t for whatever reason or responsibility, and that makes you feel even more depressed, just close your laptop and go outside. Bask in the light of the sunrise. Walk on a dirt path under a canopy of trees. Eat berries right off the bush. Be present, then reflect.

It might not fix everything. But trust me: it will help.

What do you do when you’re feeling lost? What’s your favourite way to soothe your soul?

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Thanks Amanda for the link-up!