Nature Is The Secret Ingredient Of Happiness

If you're looking for a natural, never ending source of happiness and delight, look no further. Nature is an instant source of happiness that you don't need a prescription for.

One of my news year’s resolutions this year was to spend more quality time in nature with my family and friends. When I take the time to sit or work out outside, or spend time with friends and family outside, I notice that I am more present and calm. I can usually find peace in most situations, but I notice that when I am cooped up inside for too long, it starts to feel unnatural and my normal calmness seems to escape me a bit.

When I look at it this way, I can see that my environment is a source of strength and connection. I know not to take any beauty—whether its the sound of the ocean, the birds chirping, or the sun on my hair as I feel the cool winters breeze pass through—for granted.

Nature taught me how to change my negative thoughts into positive ones because nature, as a role model, is always changing. I use that as a guide to not really get caught on any particular thought and let it dictate me. Just as easy as stormy clouds can come over a beautifully sunlit sky, you can try to change the way you’re thinking from stormy to sunny.

A free resource for daily happiness

Cheerful friends in autumn park taking selfie

A lot of people who have a relationship with nature told me that they found their own version of happiness and a connection that made them feel deeply connected to themselves because of being in nature.

They described the shift like planting a seed: the roots take hold in the rich nutritious earth and provided them the foundation that allowed them to feel safe to start working on bringing more happiness into their lives. All they had to do was make it a priority for themselves.

They noticed that, with their buy lives, work and daily responsibilities, it was hard to find the time to go bask in the sun or take a walk in the mountains or on the beach. Making sure that they added this to their list of daily priorities made it so that they experienced a personal shift of happiness.

Sit, breathe, listen to music with beautiful scenery

Young beautiful girl in yellow with headphones at field

One thing that helped me personally with daily habits was taking the time to be present in nature. When I first started this process, I found it difficult to just sit, breathe and relax—even with a beautiful view.

Since my fidgety ways got in the way of my enjoyment of the moment, I decided to bring my headphones and phone so I could listen to calming music. This really helped me to make the shift into the present moment.

I would hear the beautiful melodies accompanied by the gorgeous stillness of nature and calming views. Over time, I was able to be present in nature without music and the sounds of the world around me became my soundtrack for peace, love and happiness.

How does nature teach us to have a happier life?

young woman in a straw hat standing by the lake in the woods


Simply by being in it, nature teaches us to connect with our bodies and our emotions. Yes, you can feel the overhead light in your cubicle shining on you, but when you’re outside, you’re truly feeling sensations that connect you to life. The sun provides strength, love and light. This will cause you to be aware of what makes you feel warm and happy. The cold can bring memories that may be chilling or difficult .

This was the case for me. Everyone will have their own, unique reaction to feeling elements of nature; just notice the thoughts that arise from spending time outside. When you start to feel and connect your emotions to what is occurring in your life that may need a tune up this will lead you to a happier life.


When I first started my journey to having a happier life, I remember working on being in the present moment. I was told by a therapist I was working with at the time that I needed to spend time in nature to be more aware of the world around me. She told me to look at objects in nature and focus on them. At the time, I was anxious and trying to learn new ways to relax.

When I started to observe a tree and all of the beautiful leaves on it—the distinct colors, the details of the bark—I found that I was able to relax and focus on something other than the fact I was anxious. Focusing on what was in front of me made me present to the here and now. This was a fundamental tool for my increase in happiness.

I know its hard to make time to be in nature. We all work long hard hours and have families and obligations to attend to. However, if you’re set on committing to your own happiness, it is important that you add a dose of nature into your life.

Use it as a way to ground you. Perhaps you can start saying prayers outside to get the ball rolling. Whatever you do, remember to breathe, be mindful, and aware of all of the beauty around you. Its out there, its free, and its a gift.

About the author

Collin Christine McShirley

She has a masters in clinical psychology, certified from the centre for dieting and eating disorders, and specializes in emotional eating, body image, mindful eating, and self-esteem. Visit her website to learn about her programs and specials.

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