when a photo is (almost) as good as the real thing


By now, you’ve heard me say this at least a few times: Reading a good book is a perfect way to relax and reduce stress.


Then there’s this: Choosing a peaceful, quiet spot to read your book offers a double dose of relaxation. The silence itself can help alleviate stress even more than the book alone by reducing tension in both your body and your brain.


And if you can find or create an outdoor reading nook, in or close to nature?


Now you’re reaching triple-relaxation territory.


As you’ve likely already discovered, being in nature — and, crucially, making a concerted effort to observe nature — can give you a quick mental “vacation,” improving your mood, restoring your focus, lowering your stress, and helping you relax.


The true beauty of this bit of nature magic is that it works regardless of whether you’re actually in the natural scene you’re observing or not.


Enjoying some quiet reading time in a forest, or a park, or a garden? Perfection. Reading in your favorite porch swing or patio chair — or inside but near a window — and admiring the wind in the trees? Pay close attention to those rustling leaves, and you’re still good.


And when the natural scene you’re observing is a photograph? Believe it or not, the magic still works.



Taking a few minutes to focus on a photo of nature — especially repeating patterns of the sort found in leaves, clouds, ferns, and flowers, for example — can serve as a form of mindfulness meditation that helps quiet our anxious brains.


So when the weather won’t cooperate and you can’t get outside: hang pictures of nature on the walls of your library, or place small photos of nature on a shelf in your reading nook, and you’ll reap the benefits of being “in” nature no matter the weather.


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Hello & Welcome

I’m Jennifer: reader of fiction, cat whisperer, nerdy introvert. Possessor of a vivid imagination, a massive streak of curiosity, and a love of puzzles. Firm believer in — and ready to help you discover — the health-and-happiness benefits of reading and quiet time, whether indoors or out; “everyday” mindfulness; gardening; and walks in nature. Artist, writer, and founder of the Read. Purr. Collective.