Henry David Thoreau is one author who truly believed in the powers of nature and explored them thoroughly in his book Walden. “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived” (59). Thoreau wanted to improve on himself to become a different type of man and to be happy with the life he lived so he went to live alone in the woods. This was a very successful experience for Thoreau, who grew and learned through nature. It helped him with his problems and left him a happier person with a new insight on the benefits of nature.
Nature is tremendously effective in taking care of and straightening out the problems encountered within our selves. Being in the wilderness can give new perspective on problems through its ability to clear the mind as well as calm and relax us. Studies have indicated that being in the wilderness can lead to less negative states of mind, such as anxiety and depression. It also leads to healthier development in children. These benefits of wilderness have long been known by wilderness advocates, such as Thoreau and John Muir, who often wrote about the positive power nature has on people.
Gerald May, a writer and psychiatrist, wrote about the calming effect he experienced in nature in his book, The Wisdom of the Wilderness: Experiencing the Healing Power of Nature. He refers to this calming essence as the “Power of Slowing” (May 53), and often talks about how it calmed him when he was feeling anxious or worried. For him nature immediately rids him of his worries and anxiety. He describes it as “Then, as if it were a immediate response to my concern, I am moved to stop the car…looking at the trees, the mountainside, the sky. The welcoming feeling is here again, powerfully reassuring, holding me ”(May 129). May feels that nature comforts him and relieves his fear leading to less worry and anxiety. For May he experiences peace as soon as he reaches nature. Just being there calms him. However, others need the physical aspect of nature to direct attention away from worries, and find peace.
Jon Krakauer often preaches about the benefits nature has on him. In his book Into the Wild he explored the peace he finds while climbing:
A trancelike state settles over your efforts; the climb becomes a clear-eyed dream. Hours slide by like minutes. The accumulated clutter of day-to-day existence—the lapses of conscience, the unpaid bills, the bungled opportunities, the dust under the couch, the inescapable prison of your genes—all of it is temporarily forgotten, crowded from your thoughts by an overpowering clarity of purpose and by the seriousness of the task at hand (143).
Some might think that climbing is the exact opposite of calming. Dangling hundreds of feet from the ground on the edge of the mountain does not seem…