Silence to Solace Through Nature’s Embrace

Kate Noden

Silence has forever been my adversary. I find that in the quiet spaces between words, anxiety raises its voice to become a deafening crescendo, echoing against the walls of isolation. Society ingrains in us the notion that stillness cultivates focus, and learning, and efficiency flourishes only when confined into the quiet corridors of hushed classrooms. For at least eighteen long years, we are compelled to conform, and led to believe that development thrives in just one space, demanding silence. 

In the anticipation of productivity, I only perceive the absence of it. All I can hear is the intermingling of clicking pens and flipping of papers. In stillness, my anxious thoughts reverberate, clashing, overlapping, and drowning out other voices. It turns every question into an interrogation, and every answer into a potential humiliation. I have always felt like an outsider in my environment, alienated by friends and silenced in the classroom, leaving me to appear as a hesitant and invisible presence. 

When trying to combat the weight of silence brings upon my body I attempt to find solace through what is taught as a plausible option: therapy. Seated on the stark, chilled couch, I absorb a cascade of diverse emotional descriptions flowing from the lips of a man positioned in a smaller chair across from mine perhaps an emblem of the shorter journey he perceives toward happiness. I listen in silence, absorbing the endless definitions to unnamable emotions.

So what do you do when you are unable to learn in the one environment forced unto us? Unable to heal in the solution given to you? You find solace through an escape, for me, finding embrace within the great outdoors.

In the outdoors, judgment dissipates, allowing you a sanctuary to navigate your emotions freely. Amongst the trees, anxiety morphs into awe, and the vastness of the wilderness lightens the weighted mind. Silence is never truly silent here; it's a combination of bird songs, melodies of rushing streams, and rustling of leaves and wildlife nearby. The outdoors, in its quietude, becomes a sanctuary, where one can find solace not in the absence of noise, but in the presence of peace.

Michael Alcee, a New York-base psychologist, finds the outdoors to be a “refreshing alternative” in today’s modern society. Being outdoors significantly increases creative output, up to sixty percent, causing people “to be freer and more open to explore and disclose when they are walking.” (Alcee) The outdoors, without even trying, raises vitamins such as D3 that physically help treat issues like depression, anxiety, and more. This means that the outdoors, the fluorescent sun mixed with the quality of fresh air, holds the power to heal. 

The outdoors offers a canvas of self-discovery, where the mind can find clarity amidst the overwhelming expectations of reality. In nature’s embrace, we find not just a refuge from the deafening chaos, but a mirror that reflects our truest self, illuminating the path to acceptance and healing. I was unable to find healing and comfort in the environment placed onto me, so I escaped to nature to find ways to elevate mental health and my placement in society.

In the great outdoors, acceptance reigns superior, offering a place where anxiety is met with understanding, and silence becomes a companion rather than an enemy. Immersing myself within nature serves as a powerful reminder of the serendipity that is existence. It serves as a daily remembrance of why I am here, and provides a foundation of where I came from. Reminding myself of our humble origins, it grounds me in the reality that we all eventually return to the earth. This truth inspires resilience, encouraging those burdened by challenges to find strength in perspective. 

A book by Florence Williams, titled “The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative”, explores the scientific benefit of the outdoors and its effects to increase mental peace. “We suffer an epidemic of dislocation from the outdoors,” said Williams. 

“Nature appears to act directly upon our autonomic systems, calming us, but it also works indirectly, through facilitating social contact and through encouraging exercise and physical movement.” (Williams, 166) This exploration reveals the multifaceted impact of nature, defining it not only as a backdrop but as a catalyst for health and contentment.

When you step out of the dull and gray everyday world of expectations and into the environment of pure beauty, you can’t help but take in the sheer miracle of being alive at the same time of the enchanting trees and landscapes. You realize the universe conspired to allow you to have the privilege of existing in this moment in time, combining the uniqueness of your existence with the timeless wonders of nature. 

The wilderness beams with diversity through an endless array of plant and animal species to fungi and insects. Adversity ceases to exist. Here, I discover my purpose, a place to delve deep into my identity and to conquer the boundaries I place within myself. The outdoors empowers me, and many, to embrace our true potential, pushing past personal blockades and reaching to grow as tall as the redwoods. 

The podcast, Humans Outside, is a platform of media made up by a collection of outdoor enthusiasts that explores different techniques and ways to achieve mindfulness through the outdoors. Episode 54, titled “How to Use the Outdoors as Therapy” narrated by Amy Bushatz, highlights an outdoor therapist named Judith Sadora, who has personally experienced and treated with outdoor therapy.

“You're able to access deeper levels of consciousness that maybe wouldn’t otherwise happen,” said Sadora. “There’s such amazing benefits of healing when being connected to nature and experiencing it, to the human soul, the human body, the mind, and the spirit.” Limit the chaos and noise of daily life and allow your body to self-regulate by being in a consistent place of time with nature.

In the heart of the outdoors, I found my voice, no longer echoing against isolation but replaced with the chorus of nature, each rustle affirming my connection to the world around me. Nature became my confidante, unraveling the layers of anxiety and self-doubt that bounded me for so long. Here I learned that silence is not an absence of sound, but the presence of something bigger that has the power to heal not burden. 

The wilderness, with its endless wonders, became a reflection of my own journey- unpredictable, hidden, and endlessly beautiful. I am not merely a bystander in this universe, but an essential part of its unexplainable design. I encourage those to find their place through the outdoors, and not to escape the world, but to find yourself within it. With each whisper of the wind and snaps of branches, lies affirmation from nature validating your existence, reminding you that you, too, are a miracle woven into the outdoor’s effortless design.  

Works Cited

Alcee, Michael. “Psychotherapy in Tarrytown, NY.” Michael Alcée, Ph.D., 19 Nov. 2019, 

Williams, F. (2018). The nature fix: Why nature makes us happier, healthier, and more creative. W.W. Norton & Company. 

Bushatz, A. (2023, November 16). How to use the outdoors as therapy (Judith Sadora): Humans outside: Amy Bushatz. Humans Outside | Amy Bushatz. 

Kate Noden is a senior at Boise State University who studies Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communications with a minor in Journalism. Kate has a devoted passion for writing and embraces its power to foster unity and change as a force that brings people together.

Social Share Buttons and Icons powered by Ultimatelysocial
Skip to content