Quote Series No. 80

“Because in the end you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing the lawn. Climb that damn mountain.”

Jack Kerouac

 If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m a pretty big proponent of fitness and the outdoors. From my perspective, both have a lot to offer the mind, body, and spirit of most any individual. Earlier posts on this blog reference different sources that comment on the thoroughly-studied physiological and psychological benefits of fitness, hiking, and the awe-inspiring nature of nature. It has been scientifically proven that biological and chemical processes can be positively affected by combining fitness and nature, but it can also have many tangible advantages to help one understand oneself through somatic awareness and kinesthetic intelligence.

As Kerouac so elegantly pointed out, climbing a mountain typically has the potential to a pretty memorable, impactful experience. However, one doesn’t necessarily have to summit Everest to learn about oneself. Phenomenology, a psychological perspective focused on the metaphor of individual experience, aims to do this by relating a particular experience to how one conducts oneself on a larger scale. The idea is that by observing and understanding how one thinks and acts while they do activity A, they can not only improve how they do activity A, but also apply it to and improve upon how they do activity B. Nature serves as an excellent learning environment for this- limited external stimuli, varied physical and psychological challenges, and of course the beautiful scenery doesn’t hurt! This article published on EliteDaily.com takes an in-depth look at how one can learn about perseverance, humility, inspiration in solitude, patience, mindfulness, gratitude, and more in nature.  Whether you’re an avid outdoor adventurer or interested in learning about how nature can have such a significant impact, this article is a terrific description of some of the countless benefits of being outside.

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