November 25, 2015
Second Nature’s “Black Friday” Announcement
The folks at REI hit the nail on the head – they won’t be open the Friday after Thanksgiving. Instead, REI is putting its reputation ahead of short-term profits and urging everyone to skip the shopping and spend time outdoors (according to a recent USA Today article “REI closing on Black Friday for 1st time in push to #OptOutside).
On Black Friday, and every other day of the year, Second Nature will be open and taking care of our students and families in partnership with Mother Nature.
Intuitively, we all know that nature has profound benefits; how many of us recall Mom’s admonition to “take that outside!”. But science is now proving the profound cognitive and emotional enrichment of brief wanderings in fresh air and wild topography. The benefits of spending time in nature are simple, yet profound. Time in nature is associated with better physical health, increased job satisfaction and greater life satisfaction. Nature provides a place of calm, peace and emotional restoration.
Rebecca Clay (2001) summarized important research findings in her APA article about the merits associated with exposure to nature:
- Office workers with a view of nature reported liking their jobs more, enjoyed better health and reported greater life satisfaction.
- Cognitively-exhausted participants who walked in a local nature preserve, compared to peers walking in cityscape or sitting quietly, reported feeling more positive and also, scored better on a follow-up standard proofreading test.
- Patients recovering from abdominal surgery who were able to view natural settings recovered faster, required less pain meds and had fewer medical complications than those whose windows overlooked buildings.
Objectively, research shows that relating with nature is good for the healthy, and the recovering, human organism. We need that help, nowadays as we live in, perhaps, the fastest paced, consumer-based society that has ever existed. We have access to an unlimited barrage of instant information. We can shop online in seconds. We have technology and entertainment at our finger tips 24 hours a day. We can carry all of our music and many movies and TV shows on our phone. We don’t sleep very well and we are exercising less. It is no wonder that entitlement seems to be increasing as we struggle (as a culture) to delay gratification; we don’t delay much of anything. We don’t reserve enough time for ourselves nor create quality time for real face-to-face relationships.
Instead, Second Nature returns our students to the natural world. Indeed, spending time outside and is one of the quickest, most powerful, and most natural ways to care for ourselves. The wind and weather, focused and meaningful social interaction, vast untamed land – this is a healing balm that many of us need. It brings peace and inspiration. It brings competence through challenge and self-discovery. Ultimately, it brings connection to self and others.
We applaud REI and its 400+ retail stores for closing their doors on Black Friday and opting out of the shopping frenzy. We however, won’t be able to join them. But rest assured, we’ll be outside – helping young people to find peace as they find themselves, in nature.