What Makes You Happy? (Hint – it’s just outside your door.)

What makes YOU happy?

Quiet time alone; a raucous party with your best friends; game night with your family; or maybe a long walk or bike ride on a trail? Maybe it’s been a while since you got outside and had a dose of the secret elixir…  But just ask a child.

What makes children happy?

Back in the day, most kids would answer…PLAYING!  Not sitting to play but MOVING… Playing hopscotch, climbing trees, playing tag, running around the neighborhood unsupervised, building forts in the woods (yes, with hammers and nails or even sharp saws).

And most former children (boomer-aged adults) still have all their digits.  Kids survived and some argue, thrived.  Their imaginations got a workout along with their bodies and problem-solving and socialization skills.

In my neighborhood, kids swam unsupervised at the lake lot. They built forts in deep woods. Unsupervised. They roamed like chickens still do…free range.  Alas, no longer. (Alas, because have you seen the obesity and diabetes rates as well as higher rates of mental health diagnoses children have today? Sad.)

Yes, times have changed, but our need for moving – running, jumping, playing – and our need for exposure to nature, has not.

Studies show that exposure to nature and free outdoor play can reduce stress, improve mental health, improve creativity and even relieve ADHD symptoms.

Check out this fascinating article about the connections between happiness and nature — then go ahead.  Self-medicate. Unplug. Take a deep breath and take a therapeutic walk in nature. (And take junior.)

Below are links to some of our beautiful area parks – get outside and enjoy!

State Parks

Winter Park Parks

Maitland Parks

Eatonville Parks

Orlando Parks