The Last Days of Fall

November 19, 2011

Looking through the office out the window

Copyright 2011 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The semester is winding down and with that the stress level seems to be winding up.  This means that I am spending more time with work responsibilities-both in the office and when at home.  It is safe to say that cortisol is finding a home in my system.  Fortunately, I can look out the window and stare at the change of seasons.

Autumn tree outside window

Copyright 2011 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

I have written previous posts about the benefits of exercise with regard to stress-reduction and the improvement in cognitive function.  The notion that being outdoors in-and-of-itself leading to improvement in a sense of well-being has gotten some attention.

Crushed Royal Farms food box

Copyright 2011 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Richard Louv coined the phrase “nature-deficit disorder” and has written about this in a couple of books.  Very interesting concept.  Most of my photography lately has centered around inner cities as my subject interest moved from the great outdoors (usually landscapes of some sort) to the impact humans have had on that landscape as a result of our built environ (trash, for example.)  Therefore, I have spent much less time communing with “nature”.  Outside yes, but still surrounded by concrete, glass, and asphalt.

The few times that I have gone for walks outside of the city have been quite pleasant.  However, this is increasingly an issue as the days are getting shorter.  For the next couple of months it will be dark when I drive to work and moving toward dark by the time I get home.  Not much time for getting out and about.

Bench covered with autumn leaves

Copyright 2011 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Of course that means there is still some time.  And so, I have made a commitment to myself that I will spend at least a few minutes outside, either at work or at home, doing something enjoyable in order to obtain the benefits that nature has to offer.  Thursday of this week was the day to implement this pledge and I took a walk around the campus to test the research.

Now, this is a completely non-scientific observation.  After all, the sample pool is one, me, and I am self-reporting.  (It is important to remember that truth is a very elusive concept and is highly influenced by personal experience.  “The Blind Men and the Elephant” serves as a prototypical example of this point.)  As a result, take this conclusion for what it worth:

It does feel better to be outside.

Take care.


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