If your class is meeting online, you can use screen-sharing features on your video chat software to share the video clips. Did you know that if you’re feeling stressed, one of the smartest things you can do is step outside?
For one thing, you usually do something physical, like walking or running, when you leave the house. And that’s good, because exercise has the power to boost your mood.
Being outside helps with feelings of anxiety and sadness. “Nature . . . reduces cognitive fatigue and stress and can be helpful with depression and anxiety,” says psychologist Irina Wen. A hike in the woods may be the best medicine of all. There’s a scientific study that shows being among the trees brings down stress more than a walk in the city.
However, you don’t necessarily need a forest to experience nature’s benefits. Sometimes, God’s creation can help us when we’re not actually in it.
- Have you ever seen a photo or a video or a scene from nature and immediately felt yourself relaxing? (Many of your students have probably experienced this.)
That scientific study showed that walking in the woods lowers stress. Let’s try an unscientific study of our own. We’re going to watch some scenes from nature on the computer. Focus on the video and see if you notice any changes in your feelings as you watch. Show your students this video [2:19].
NEAR LIGHT (NATURE MONTAGE)
- Did watching those images from nature have any effect on your feelings? (Many of your students probably noticed that they felt more relaxed as they watched.)
There’s a lot of beauty in nature. Sometimes, it can even have a positive effect on our mood! God created us to appreciate everything He’s made, from forests to clouds.
However, there’s a problem: while humans can’t create anything as beautiful as the earth, we’ve developed advanced skills in creating ways to mess it up. God made nature to take care of itself. But that doesn’t work when humans dump exhaust into the air or pollute the water.
Pollution is a problem around the world, and the United States has experienced worsening air quality in recent years. The air quality conditions in recent months have made many parts of North America feel smoky, foggy, and difficult to see into the distance.
Show your students these images:
Smoke Across North America
- The polluted air and smog probably don’t do much to relax you. How do you feel about our air being increasingly polluted? (Students may use adjectives like concerned or disgusted.)
The bad news is that humans have done a lot of things to mess up the environment. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. We have the power to help nature stay . . . well, natural. Here’s what Genesis teaches us about looking after everything God made.