I love music. Music is life. When it comes to getting exercise, the idea of attempting any kind of physical movement without the drum beats and guitar riffs that are my oxygen, seems like a really bad idea. But, on occasion, it's just the thing we need.

It's been well-documented that walking outside and/or just spending time in the outdoors does a world of good for our mental and emotional well-being. As much as I adore audio books and music, just allowing myself to let the sounds of nature wash over me is like a balm for the soul. That may sound woo-woo, but it really is an entirely different experience.

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Yesterday evening, I forced myself out the door for a bit of a walk after a stressful afternoon. At first, I felt like I was missing something. Unplugging from media, especially during a time when our social interactions are limited, was quite the challenge. I had my phone, because our phones are our camera and stopwatches now. I'm won't lie--for the first seven minutes or so, I didn't think I could walk without some kind of sounds playing into my head. But then, something changed.

There's things you notice you otherwise wouldn't. For example, I was more aware of the unusual breezes for an evening in August. I became acutely aware of the bird songs and even the wildflowers and pretty weeds growing along the path. (I noticed the litter, too--grrrr--but that's another subject.)

I even had the lovely experience of happening upon a couple of "neigh"-bors along my route. Two horses, who are clearly good friends, seemed to be more aware of me than usual. Because I wasn't so distracted by whatever was in my phone, I took a chance and wandered over to their fence. I'm very grateful to say, they were in a friendly mood. I walked over and chatted with them for a bit, gave them a pet, and carried on my way. But just that simple encounter turned into the thing I was most grateful for all day.

So yeah--it'll be hard at first. But if you're truly looking for stress relief, give it a try. Nature has a way of helping us clear our minds and calm our hearts.

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