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The importance of the wild

How often do we go into the ‘wild’? Being in a wild space can provide us with so many benefits. As well as the research suggesting this it is a phenomenon I have witnessed and experienced myself over 18 years of leading people to experience the wilderness.

Wild places can help us with many aspects of our lives to cover just a few of the benefits…

Development

As children, we learn through every new environment and experience we encounter. I have seen, firsthand, the incredible developments and ‘wow moments’ created by getting children into the wild. A good example of this would be caving. Taking someone cave exploring for the first time you can visibly see their mind developing and changing as they experience something new. If we look hard we can gain this same kind of new experience even in a familiar wild space. We can look at it from a new perspective. It is tempting, especially for adults, to think there is nothing new under the sun and that they cannot experience the same sense of awe and wonder that they had as a child. I have seen many adults break this thought process in wild places and gain a sense of learning and development no matter their age or stage.

Peace

Why would experiencing the wild help us with a sense of calm and peace? By being removed from the trappings of electronics and the stresses of this world! Being in the wild gives us a sense of place and grounding. As we experience the natural world at work, we gain a sense of our place in it. the wide-open spaces, the greenery, the rivers, and the rocks all bring a sense of something solid to cling to the outside of our ever-changing pressures of this world.

Mental well being

There is much ongoing research on the benefit of wild spaces as a place to support and improve mental well-being.  For me, personally, some of the toughest situations in my life have been much easier to overcome or process by getting into the wilderness. It can stimulate positive thought processes, give us pleasure and improve our mood simply by walking out of our front door into nature.

Creativity

When we experience the wilderness, it opens our minds to possibilities. As we experience new places and environments it helps us to understand that our position and thoughts are not fixed but growing. This then leads to us understanding that other possibilities exist than those we believed before the experience. this then leads our mind to a creative space which allows us to think beyond the ordinary. I have especially witnessed this in children as their minds are blown by the world around them and they are more receptive to the creative possibilities around them.

Appreciation of the environment

Exploring a wild place takes us from looking after the environment as a theoretical exercise to fully appreciating what there is to protect. It makes the small changes each one of us can do for the environment and makes those changes significant as we appreciate what needs saving and the link between our own needs and survival with the environment around us. Seeing a Bee at work and the extraordinary job it does vital to providing us with food helps us understand the need for us to thrive in harmony together. Exploring the wilderness helps connect us with the basics of life and helps us make those connections

These are just a few of the thousands of other benefits of exploring a wild place.

In my experience exploring the ‘Wild’ has had the most profound effect on me and many other people I have led and encountered whilst exploring. The benefits are far-reaching and go beyond just our impact on the world but also how we can impact others.