Do you feel stuck, stressed, bored? At home, in traffic, behind a desk? No doubt you’ll be within reach of some kind of technology, which may take your mind off things but, more often than not, increases your frustration. When these feelings get a grip on me, I’m one of the lucky ones. I look through the door to my left, see the Daintree Rainforest and move outside … ahhhh that’s better!
We all know that even a short walk in the park or a plant pot in your office can lift your mood and wellbeing. Now imagine that on steroids! Imagine walking on the white silky sands of Cape Tribulation beach and hearing the waves roll in, or listening to the trees of the Daintree Rainforest sway while the rain rolls off the leaves. It’s hard to beat!
So why does a beautiful natural environment like the Daintree Rainforest boost our wellbeing? Why is immersing yourself in a rainforest any better for you then walking down a city street? Don’t get me wrong, although I live in Cape Tribulation I still enjoy the beauty of architecture or wandering through a city while it’s in full swing, but it just doesn’t have the same effect as walking through the rainforest.
In the early 1980s, at a suburban hospital in Pennsylvania, a study was carried out on patients recovering from gallbladder surgery. The researchers noticed significant differences in the time taken for patients to recover, and they wanted to understand why. What they found was that patients staying in rooms facing the garden not only recovered more quickly than those whose rooms faced a brick wall, but they also experienced improved mood, despite all other aspects of the rooms being exactly the same.
William James, one of the early giants of modern psychology, explained this by distinguishing between directed (voluntary) attention and involuntary attention. Directed attention enables us to focus on demanding, but often tedious, tasks like trying to dodge traffic while driving or writing an essay. Involuntary attention is more passive; it comes easily and doesn’t require the same mental stress. Blake offers examples of things that capture our involuntary attention: “Strange things, moving things, wild animals, bright things, pretty things, words, blows, blood, etc., etc., etc.”
While some things that attract involuntary attention might cause negative stress, when we passively allow our attention to drift towards the natural environment, it results in a pleasurable experience without negative stress or effort.
This is why we often choose to travel to places with beaches, rainforest and other natural phenomena. Walking through the Daintree Rainforest with no phone service or distractions from the outside world can have an amazing impact on your stress levels and general sense of wellbeing. Taking in the beauty of a creek flowing, watching the animals go about their daily lives and lying on the beach at night waiting for the next shooting star requires no work on your part. You can just relax and allow nature’s show to soothe you.
So next time you need to unwind from the stress of everyday life, come and join us in the Daintree Rainforest where the motto is “chill out, not flat out”, and see what it can do for you.
Interested in taking some time out and relaxing in the Daintree?