When you’re surrounded by pristine rainforest, a tranquil river and some of Mother Nature’s most stunning handiwork, it’s easy to lose sight of the cares of the rest of the world.
So it was in the early days of Chaa Creek when, as a small family farm, the current price of watermelon was more relevant than the news coming over the radio during our nightly sessions of listening to BBC World News.
These days, with a plethora of guests hailing from so many different countries, we get a continual update of world events along with a variety of viewpoints. With Democrats, Republicans, conservatives, liberals, Greens and just about every religious faith represented at any one given evening, we enjoy listening to a wide range of observations and opinions.
What stands out as being something everyone shares is a certain amount of apprehension about how the world is going. While many people accept that war, aggression, and some of the more unfortunate manifestations of human nature are facts of life, it still causes anxiety.
The other thing we notice is how people respond to being surrounded by nature. Often, when they first arrive, guests will be keyed up, nervous and anxious. Fair enough; many times this is the final payoff for months of planning, and then a lot of last minute preparations followed by the “Did you remember to lock the backdoor/turn off the gas/pay the phone bill…” questions on the plane.
We smile, offer the welcome drink, and wait for the magic to begin.
Sure enough, by the next day those previously anxious arrivals are now smiling more, walking slower and wondering more about what sort of bird or flower that is instead of what the stock market is doing. A few days later, after a tour of an ancient Maya temple, canoe trip down the Macal River, horseback or mountain bike ride or hike along some of the trails crisscrossing 365 acres of our nature reserve paradise, some pool or hammock time or perhaps a massage at the spa, the change is even more dramatic. We hear a lot of laughter and see a lot of handholding.
This has led us to the simple yet inescapable conclusion that being around nature is good for people. And leads to our first reason why:
One – It makes people happier
That comes from our own observations. An additional five reasons come from an article in the Daily Mail Online, a piece about how research by a certain Doctor Frances Kuo (Parks and Other Green Environments: Essential Components of a Healthy Human) has shown that being closer to nature and green spaces is linked to:
Two – Faster recovery from illness and surgery
Three – Improved immune system functioning
Four – Lower rates of anxiety disorders, clinical depression and hyperactivity
Five – Lower rates of cardiovascular and other diseases
Six – Lower rates of obesity
So right here we have six good reasons why being around nature is good for you. And we’re sure that there are many more.
Now the cynic may say, “What an obvious statement, coming from someone who is in the business of providing opportunities to connect with nature.” However, you can try it right now wherever you are: If there’s a tree outside the window, spend a few moments just noticing it. If there’s a park or beach nearby, go for a walk. Even just look at a bird on a telephone wire. Don’t think about anything, just watch it.
And by all means, if you can, do consider coming down and spending some quality time immersed in the pristine rainforest, breathing clean air and looking up at a tranquil sky for a while. It will do a world of good.
But don’t take our word for it, try it yourself!