One of my favorite concepts from ecopsychology–the psychology of our relationship with nature–is soft fascination. I’ve experienced it many times in a variety of natural spaces, and I never fail to find it refreshing. One of the challenges, of course, is allowing myself to decompress mentally enough to allow soft fascination to fully take place. But once it does, I am rejuvenated and feel more complete.

This isn’t surprising. We are the product of billions of years of evolution that occurred in wild places that were, for the most part, quiet. Noise was relatively uncommon, especially that requiring hard-edged focus, such as responding to dangers or a challenger of another species. Today, though, we subject ourselves and each other to unprecedented levels of constant sound and other sensory input, which exhausts us. The Industrial Revolution isn’t even three hundred years old, yet it kicked off trends of urbanization and mechanization that we certainly haven’t had time to adapt to fully in the space of fifteen or so generations.

So it is that we can find solace on all levels in unfettered, quiet, natural places. Most of us will require relatively safe spots such as trails, parks, and campgrounds. However, some may feel better in more remote places far off the beaten track. Whatever your preference, why not make a plan to get yourself out to a quieter, greener space, even if for a few hours? Let soft fascination soothe your senses and help you build resilience in an ever more demanding world.

Species portrayed: humans (Homo sapiens sapiens), domestic dog (Canis familiaris), domestic cat (Felis catus), yarrow (Achillea millefolium)