I had a most spectacularly therapeutic and energising afternoon today. I went on the Benbulben loop walk. Scientific studies cannot overstate the psychological and physiological benefits of walking but when you’re surrounded by the sheer beauty of nature there is an extra ‘bounce’ to the experience. Physical activity in natural environments is referred to as ‘green’ exercise. Psychological research indicates that such activity increases positive emotion, reduces the chemicals associated with stress and enhances cognition function.
There is something very spiritual that can be sensed around majestic Benbulben. It’s not by accident that many artists, writers, poets, musicians and druids linger under its shadow. It acts like a magnet for creative beings but also entices the creative dimension that is in all of us. We have to engage with it to feel it. It’s like moving from the visible to the invisible world, leaving behind the material side for the spiritual and as a consequence connecting with ourselves in a much deeper way.
I hope children are still being brought on walks. As a child I picked blackberries from the bushes and lifted mushrooms in the morning half light. I helped my father fill the cart with blocks of wood and played on freshly cut bales of hay.
Today, the aroma of nature brought me back to my childhood and reminded me that there is real therapy in the beautiful world around us. We need to be walking more and sensing our surroundings better.