“Spirituality is a basis of fundamental truths – the universal aspirations, principles, and values acknowledged by all people, regardless of race, regardless of nationality, regardless of ethnicity and most of all, regardless of religion. For me, the clearest evidence and greatest lessons about this essential spirituality are found in nature.  In the wilderness, one comes to understand that there is an essence to life far greater than things in our material lives.”Dr. Hyun Jin P. Moon
When was the last time you took a hike or went outdoors and escaped to nature? Going out into nature holds some not so secret benefits to your overall health and happiness and unlike gym memberships or every other therapy of choice, it’s free. Here are 3 Ways Nature Makes You Happier:  
  1. Happy in BodyThe physical exertion for any number of outdoor sports and activities keeps your body fit inside and out. The constantly changing environment is refreshing and asks your body to be challenged, adapt and become stronger (and wiser). Not to mention, wind resistance can naturally help you burn more calories 😉 .You will be stronger, healthier, and more confident in your ability to tackle new challenges.
  1. Happy in MindPerhaps it is the fresh air filling your lungs, or the environment free of the distraction and noise of your busy life, or the piercing awareness of your aching, tired body as you climb upwards on your hike that brings you to reflect on the current state of your mind and body, your goals, dreams, and aspirations.Studies show that the simple act of walking in nature puts you at lower risk for depression. One study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, compared people who walked in a high-traffic urban setting to those who walked for 90 minutes in a natural area, with the conclusion that the participants in nature showed decreased activity in a region of the brain associated with a key factor in depression.
  1. Happy in SpiritWith all the advances in technology, medicine, and all sciences, one would think modern conveniences would be enough to satisfy our human needs, however, as each outdoor experience will prove, there is a something deeper, more spiritual that flourishes in the raw beauty and challenge of our natural world.There are so many things to worry about, whether it is school, work, friends, or family, once you descend from the mountain and return to your normal routine. But right now, you see the forest breathing with life, one living thing living for another in an endless cycle sustaining a larger system to allow life to continue and flourish. And as you stand there observing, maybe it hits you that you are a part of that system, too. Maybe the problems that plague us at home or in society stem from this simple point we forgot in our detachment from nature: we forgot how to live for others. Nature teaches us to care for ourselves, to be strong in body and heart, not for our own sake, but so that we can care for each other, helping each other flourish and contribute something beautiful to the greater whole. Still need inspiration? Take a hike.