ReLEAF for Your Body, Mind, and Soul

September 17, 2021

By Stellan Knox

Stellan Knox (zey/zem/zir) is an incredible Black trans teen from Memphis, TN. Ze loves reading plays, poetry, and science articles in zir spare time. Stellan also writes zir own poetry and prose, so keep zir on your radar and you might just find your new favorite author!

Pledge to Take Action

One of my favorite books is “The Kindness Boomerang: How to Save the World (and Yourself) Through 365 Daily Acts” by Orly Wahba. As the title suggests, Orly offers daily acts of kindness for you to try, whether you’re at home, school, or work. I think it’s the perfect companion guidebook to this month’s Be Kind 21 since it has plenty of ideas for practicing kindness towards others and yourself. The following is an excerpt from the book: September 3rd, Act: Plan a day trip to a local park, garden, or forest. There’s more nature close by than you realize. 

“Life is truly a reflection of what we allow ourselves to see and be.” ~Trudy Symeonakis Vesotsky 

The solitude we can find in nature affords us the opportunity to strip away the worries that fill our minds, cloud our thoughts, and take hold of our hearts. Don’t think of it as running away; think of it as finding your way back. You’ll see that you’ll discover more than just an appreciation for nature, but a deeper and more profound appreciation for life, imperfections and all. 

(Courtesy of Stellan)

Whenever I spend time outside, I don’t feel just a little bit better, I feel completely wonderful. Perhaps, this is because of the biophilia hypothesis. According to Britannica, this hypothesis is the “idea that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life.” However, the benefits of being in nature are not theoretical. Nature is a “restorative environment,” which means it both permits and promotes restoration. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. 

Sometimes, if I have my phone on me while outside, I play a nature meditation that calls my attention to the different facets around me. Other times, I just try to notice the world for myself. It’s so big and beautiful, isn’t it?

I encourage you to try this kindness exercise for yourself. See if you can experience the multi-sensory benefits of being present and relaxed in nature.

Pledge to Take Action