Sunday, January 27, 2013

Nature Deficit

It's not listed as a medically recognized disorder, but I know I have it. Richard Louv in a 2005 book about children not having enough time in nature came up with the phrase, Nature Deficit Disorder. According to Wikipedia:

[H]uman beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors resulting in a wide range of behavioral problems....

Louv claims that causes for the phenomenon include parental fears, restricted access to natural areas, and the lure of the screen.

Louv argues that sensationalist media coverage and paranoid parents have literally "scared children straight out of the woods and fields," while promoting a litigious culture of fear that favors "safe" regimented sports over imaginative play.

In recognizing these trends, some people argue that humans have an instinctive liking for nature—the biophilia hypothesis—and take steps to spend more time outdoors, for example in outdoor education, or by sending young children to forest kindergartens or forest schools.
Louv has a book now, The Nature Principle, that says the same is true for adults as much as for children.

I agree. Wholeheartedly.

Last week several people at work asked me either
Are you feeling okay?


Is anything wrong? You don't seem yourself.

No, it's not seasonal affective disorder. It's not about the amount of sunshine available in my life; it's the amount of nature time that I'm not able to get at this time of the year. Add to the cold (frigid at times) the fact that we haven't had the snow to be able to get out on my snowshoes and you have my low energy and lack of pizazz in my life, actions and affect.

It isn't about exercise, either, since I still get a lot of that. I've done over 70 miles on the stationary bike this month- and i haven't even been pushing it.

The treatment is obvious. Get outside. Bundle up and move my body to the great, wide outdoors. Which in Minnesota is easier said than done, of course. In a few weeks I will be able to get out and get my winter quota of beach and gulf water, sun, and sand. I will be refreshed. Until then, well, I am whining to all of you about it. That's a start. Talking always helps.

Then I can look at pictures like this one:
TroutLily3 Whitewater State Park, MN
That gets me thinking about the summer ahead when outdoors is easier.

Or this picture:

Which reminds me of how wonderful the world around me is, even in winter.
And one more:
Pan of Target Field Minneapolis

That tells me that an outdoor baseball stadium is still the way to watch the game.. 
and opening day is only 9 weeks away.

No comments: