Shift Down a Gear

Did you know that nature has more of an influence on our well-being than most people believe?

Sun light, for example, controls many important processes in the body – in a natural rhythm which adapts to the time of day and to the seasons in the year.

This summer I’ve been out hiking a lot again. For all those of us who really want to shift down a gear or two, a hiking tour is exactly the right way! Hiking is becoming more and more popular: almost every other German is regularly drawn to one of the round about 200.000 kilometer long footpaths. And that’s no wonder. Especially in the autumn time, when you walk through colourful leafy woods with your backpack and good mood, with soft moss under your feet and lots of clear air, such a hiking tour is a wonderful experience – for all of the senses.

Whoever has already been on a hiking tour to the top of a really high mountain knows what you can hear up there: nothing. With your head in the clouds, you can listen to a silence that you would not normally hear in your daily life. That’s a great opportunity to listen right inside of yourself.

It’s also fantastic to feel all the other rutas de senderismo wonderful things around you: the sun on your skin, the wind in your face, the stones and roots of the trees under the soles of your shoes. A crunchy apple, hand picked direct from a tree, herbs and berries growing wild at the side of the path or clear spring water from a mountain stream. Hiking doesn’t only go for your legs, it also goes through your stomach. And when you smell the air, it suddenly becomes clear to you how you breathe and how the things around you smell. Deep and conscious breathing settles the heart beat and de-stresses. Really breathing deeply has even an influence on your feelings – after all, it’s not called “I breathe a sigh of relief” for nothing whenever problems are solved!

It seems that contact with nature, as is psychologically proven in tests, releases hormones which make us happier and enables us to regenerate our inner batteries. Just looking at a landscape is said to have a positive effect on your blood pressure. In any case, it can’t do any harm to take a look at a different horizon now and again!

What I always notice when hiking is that there seems to be a presence, which is much larger than I perceive myself to be and that has been with me all my life. People are always hungry for beauty in everything, we seek it everywhere. When we experience the Beautiful, it feels like coming home. Many of our best memories take place in the most beautiful surroundings, where we immediately feel at home. And in such places we feel most alive and happy as the needs of the soul are met.