Trees May Help You Feel Happier

Juniper tree

Juniper tree in Simon Canyon, NM

Most people feel a little sad every now and then. Sometimes for just a few seconds, they may feel lonely or down in the dumps. Those feelings are often gone in a minute or two. Sometimes they last a little bit longer.

When you start to feel sad or lonely, you could try something simple that might help you feel better. Put on your walking shoes, grab a jacket if it’s cold outside, and take a short hike along sidewalks in the neighborhood. Take a buddy or parent along if one is available. While you walk, pay close attention to the trees.

As you come to a tree, stand beside it for a minute or two. Can you sense anything about the tree? This time of year, most trees are shedding their leaves and going into a dormant winter phase. Even so, it’s worth the effort to give some attention to each tree.

See if you notice a difference in how you feel as you stand by a maple, elm, cottonwood, catalpa, aspen, pine, willow, or spruce. Just like people, every tree has its own, shall we say, personality. One tree can make you feel welcome. You may feel surrounded by love near another tree. Still another tree might want you to reach out and touch it.

It sounds a little bizarre to think that trees can be so different. It’s even more bizarre to think that you can feel happy, welcome, or loved around certain trees. Most of the time, we walk right by trees and hardly notice them. But if you spend a little time standing in front of each tree, a few things can happen.

Number one, you stop thinking about what’s bothering you as you put your mind on noticing the tree.

Number two, you become aware that the tree is more than just a trunk with branches and roots. It is a living part of nature, and it just might make you feel a little happier when you take time to notice it.

See if you can put a name to the feeling you get as you stand in front of each tree. If you like to take notes, you could write down the name of each feeling you get. If you can identify the type of tree it is, such as maple, write down the word maple. Beside it list the kind of feeling you get as you stand in front of the maple.

You might not notice anything at first. The more you practice this, the better you will get at it.

If nothing else, this exercise will take your mind off feeling down in the dumps and let you spend time outside. Going from inside to outside can be enough to help you start feeling happy again.

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