Picture this: You are alone, deep on a wooded trail. Your only companions are the birds that flit from branch to branch around you. As you walk, you follow a corridor made up of pillars of ancient trees and smell the earthy aroma of moss and wet leaves.
How do you feel? It’s hard to describe, but the words that immediately come to mind are calm, peace, and contemplation. You feel a deeply rooted connection with the world around you and are reminded of the importance of our natural environment.
There is a word for that feeling: waldinsamkeit.
The universal language of nature.
It may have a funny name, but waldinsamkeit It’s a word for a feeling we all know. ““Wald-einsamkeit” is a German word with no direct translation into English. The best way to translate it is “the feeling of being alone in the forest.”
The word is a combination of “wald” which means forest, and “loneliness”That is, loneliness or solitude. we experiment waldinsamkeit in the moments when we are surrounded by forest and feel totally at peace. family unit It represents our inherent connection to nature and describes a feeling that is often indescribable.
Humans have lived in harmony with nature for approximately 99% of human history. This has integrated into our existence the desire to be surrounded by plants and animals. This is evident in things like houseplants, pets, camping, and more.
However, today, Canadians spend 90% of each day indoors. This is more than any other time in history. More and more of us live in cities, further away from quality green spaces. This change can have a negative effect on our lives.
Health in the forest
Nature is important to us in many ways, including our health. Spending time in nature is like taking a really good multivitamin.
Nature can improve the body’s immune system, leading to a wide range of health benefits.
After spending two days in nature, the levels of cancer-fighting white blood cells in the body increase by 50%. Spending time outdoors can also reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes by 50%. Nature can prevent diseases such as depression, obesity, ADHD, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Time in nature also has benefits for your mental health.
There is a strong connection between time spent in nature and reducing feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. Stress is relieved within minutes of exposure to nature, as measured by muscle tension, blood pressure and brain activity.
Plus, doing physical activities outdoors makes you happier than doing them indoors. Contact with nature has restorative properties, increasing energy and improving the feeling of vitality and concentration.
Simply being in nature can do extraordinary things for our physical, mental and social health. When we lose nature, we lose a series of benefits to our health.
Healthy Parks Healthy People
The higher the quality of green spaces, the more health benefits you will receive. That is why it is so important to take care of our protected areas and ensure that these spaces exist for future generations.
The Healthy Parks Healthy People movement aims to reconnect us with nature to experience restorative and preventative health benefits. Ontario Parks began promoting HPHP in 2015 and hosts events throughout the year to celebrate and share the health benefits of nature.
The next time you are in a forest, pause and close your eyes.
Do you feel that? That is waldeinsamkeit.
Find your waldinsamkeit in a provincial park using our park locator.