Cravings are part of being human, but cravings go far beyond hunger, thirst, family, and friends. The weather is nice, and you’re craving outdoor time, whether you know it or not.
Humans are used to craving different foods and drinks. We even crave experiences like meeting with friends or going on a road trip.
What makes an experience crave-worthy is uniquely personal, yet many of our desires are deeply driven by a biological need.
For example, thirst, classified as a homeostatic emotion, is not a choice, but a physiologically primed behavior. While thirst is quite ordinary and mundane it can be so very pleasurable to quench. No matter how often you’ve had the experience of drinking when really thirsty, there is a joy and a satisfaction in taking those first sips. As soon as you drink, aaaahh, you are well.
Hunger is your body’s way of asking for energy, but hunger for certain foods can often be a craving designed to satisfy your body’s need for a specific vitamin or nutrient. Are you craving nuts or beans? Maybe your body needs some magnesium. Potatoes? Is that vitamin B calling?
What if experiences, like heading outdoors, work in a similar way? Vitamin O?
The more we work with helping people weave natural movement and outdoor time into their lives, the more we become convinced of time outdoors being not that much different than thirst.
First, there is the indoor feeling – a sense some of us feel so strongly, it almost reminds you of the need to put on a fresh set of clothes or take an invigorating shower!
Then, there is the impulse to get outdoors. Is that vitamin O telling us something?
When you do follow the impulse and you get outside – especially in wild nature – there can be a deep relief. A fulfillment of the craving.
Many describe a calming, a settling, an opening to joy through all the senses, a celebration in every step and every breath. And then we all agree that we carry this outdoor energy with for hours and even days after immersing ourselves in nature.
Until we feel the vitamin O deficiency again, and once again follow the call.
Multiple studies show the effects of the outdoors on well-being
In fact, connectedness to nature and happiness have been shown to have quite a straightforward relationship!
Whether you read about it in our book or heard about it on the news, you’ve likely already heard of the concepts of shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) or the state of blue mind one experiences in proximity to the ocean!
Biophilia, the natural draw to nature, is common amongst all humans, and given that we evolved over millions of years and have only dwelled indoors for less than 0.01% of the history of the species, it’s no wonder we feel aligned with nature and powerfully affected by it.
We recently recorded a podcast with Andrea Bell, psychotherapist and eco-therapist, talking about the positive effects of nature on whole body and mental health. We even delved into deep topics like eco-anxiety and eco-grief. I know you’ll love the episode, and Andrea even more!
Nature is here to support you
No matter what your goals – nature is here to support you, and vitamin O (the outdoors) is essential to your human diet.
We’ve seen clients benefits in remarkable ways from spending more time outside, despite the wide variety of physical, mental, and emotional goals.
Some of their goals included managing high blood pressure, becoming more resilient to the stresses of work, creating a restorative sleep routine, losing weight, as well as improving focus and concentration, and recovering better from exercise.
More time outdoors has helped them all!
All Outdoors Matters
Before you start adding more pressure to your schedule by imagining that every weekend now has to be spent in a nature park, consider this: while going out in the wild is probably going to be best, the outdoors near your home or work, with plenty of microdoses of vitamin O spread out through the day, is always there for you.
We have made a list of the 10 most successful strategies our clients use to get their vitamin O without having to turn their whole life upside down or quit their job to become a park ranger.
You too, with some mindful consideration, can enjoy what’s possible when you make space for the outdoors.
Let’s play together and see how much vitamin O you can get this month!
We love to hear from our readers, please drop us a line and let us know your own tips for more of the precious vitamin O!