Parking My Stress

Vienna tree and sky

Lately, I have discovered a fabulous way to beat stress. It isn’t a novel idea by any means, but I didn’t know how therapeutic it could be until I started doing it regularly.

I go to the park and let my mind wander. I walk briskly for a few minutes, exercising my arms and legs (and trying out cool new moves I see fitness freaks practising). Then, I let myself sit on the bench in the early morning sunshine, listen to the chirping birds freshly woken from sleep, and pamper my feet with the luxury that is dew. I don’t look at my phone; I don’t inspect any to-do lists; no calls or messages are entertained. Frequently, I don’t even listen to music but prefer to tune in to the natural orchestra: whistling winds, birdies cooing in the distance, lightly rumbling thunder forecasting more rain in Pune, rustling leaves swaying in the breeze.

Occasionally, a fluffy dog or two come and sit by me, agreeing wholeheartedly with my philosophy of idle sitting and doing nothing. In Vienna, the park I used to visit had more four-legged friends: sheep, cows, frogs. They all nodded at me when I walked past and then proceeded to imitate my stress-relief behaviour: sit and stare into the distance, humming if you please, enjoying the fact that you are alive to see a new day when everything, at least for the moment, is free of mistakes.

My morning visits to the park help keep me centred. Our lives are trapped in air-conditioned homes and offices, surrounded by gadgets and man-made paraphernalia. We rely so extensively on massage chairs, adult colouring books, YouTube music, and fancy meditation manuals that we rarely think to turn to nature for healing. Undoubtedly, all these things can be excellent for mental health. But so is spending half an hour amidst the greens. It is a stress-relief technique dating back to the times when stress wasn’t even recognised as a problem. Stone Age men and women probably went with picnic baskets to thick forests to recuperate from the toll that killing a herd of foxes took on their health.

Now, please excuse me while I partake of the next thing that will hold my hand through the day: my cup of coffee.

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I am taking up the April #AtoZChallenge 2019 and will post every day of the month, except Sundays. I look forward to your company!

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37 thoughts on “Parking My Stress

  1. I felt relaxed by just reading through that post. Honestly it’s a lot better to exercise in the open air parks and spaces than it is to do so in a gym – unless of course there is a specific intent of body building. Regular exercise is best done with nature. It soothes the body and mind without us even realising.

  2. Beautiful post and such a soothing photo with it. I love nature and parks but since I am not a morning person, I end up not going. Sad, because morning is a beautiful time and it’s also a great way to start your day…Maybe one day I will wake up early and go to the park…fingers crossed.

  3. Being in the company of nature and admiring birds or frogs is therapeutic. offering the feeling of going with the flows makes us slow down. It’s important to be undistracted by the phone or any form of the gadget being one with nature.

    • Couldn’t agree more! It is free therapy and super effective too! 🙂
      Totally second what you said about gadgets. We have to learn to keep them away to ensure we get the most from this therapy. 🙂

    • Warm welcome here, Gail 🙂
      Delighted you found the post relaxing and hope that you manage to get the time (and the impetus) to resume your visits to the park 🙂
      Hopping over to read your stories soon.

  4. Nature always has the ability to heal best. Being from the hills I was always lucky to run to Nature to ease myself. And you have definitely found yourself the much needed remedy.

  5. Until this madness started, I consciously ensured one day off social media and gadgets. I would read, play with my son and spend time with my family. We planned dinner outings or visited places. It was so refreshing to take that weekly break. As a mother with a son who has just started school, finding a little me time has become luxury only. But I am hoping things will improve post April

    • Sonia, hugs. Here’s hoping that things indeed improve post April and that you can get back to taking occasional breaks. You not only need them but deserve them too ❤

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