Let Nature Unwind Your Stress

let nature unwind your stress

Nature has the amazing ability to restore our sense of inner peace. When was the last time you immersed yourself in the natural world away from the stress and pressure of your everyday life?

I think “unwind” is an accurate description of the effect that nature has on us when we give it a chance. The pace of modern life can easily get us all wound up. We call that stress, right? Well, nature is a great antidote for stress and, in fact, it’s one of my very favorites.

3 Days of active stress unwinding

Every September my wife and I, along with our daughter and her husband, take a short vacation to Sunriver, Oregon. It’s a beautiful, low key resort community 15 miles south of Bend on the east side of the Cascade Mountains. The setting is pine trees, lava rocks, lots of black tail deer, miles of bike trails, and the beautiful Deschutes River.

We always take our bikes along and on the warm years we also bring kayaks. This year our focus was on biking and I wanted to share one of our favorite trails with you. In Sunriver the Deschutes River is wide and peaceful, but downstream it gets a lot more active.

As it turns out, Benham falls is not a waterfall, but a series of impressive rapids. I love the roar of rapids and feel totally invigorated and stress free whenever I am around them. The ride was about 3 hours and I wanted to share some photographic highlights with you.

Following the river downstream from Sunriver

unwind your stress at Sunriver Oregon

unwind your stress at Sunriver Oregon

unwind your stress at Sunriver Oregon

unwind your stress at Sunriver Oregon

unwind your stress at Sunriver Oregon

Create your own freedom from stress  tradition

Sunriver has become a family tradition for us. It takes less than 4 hours to get there and it’s something we really look forward to. I encourage you to create your own freedom from stress tradition so nature can work its restorative wonders on you.

We only go for 3 or 4 nights so the expense of renting a comfortable house with a hot tub and barbecue is very manageable, and the rewards are priceless. We were made to be at peace in nature. If you are feeling a bit wound up, may I suggest letting nature unwind your stress for you. Works for us every time!

Does you have a favorite freedom from stress getaway?
Where do you go to unwind and connect with nature?
The lines are open!

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  1. Lance October 8, 2010 Reply

    Reminds me of the place in Maine that we stayed at on our vacation over the summer. And the beauty of this place – besides that magnificent natural world all around – was how it was also almost completely electronics-free – and so refreshing. It’s a memory that will live with me forever.

    As yours are, too, I’m sure – what you are creating on a regular basis with your family. Love this!!

    • Jonathan October 8, 2010 Reply

      Hey Lance, Maine is called Oregon’s sister state. I’ve never been there but it’s someplace I would like to see. Sunriver is in an area of incredible natural diversity. We love it there! Once we arrive we rarely use the car. Biking becomes our main mode of transportation. I am a big fan of active relaxation.

  2. Sandra Lee October 8, 2010 Reply

    Jonathan, These are gorgeous photos. I’m fortunate to live in a beautiful spot in Hawai’i so my freedom from stress tradition is to step out my door. Stress can still be a bear even when you live in the midst of beauty if you don’t have a stress tradition.!

    • Jonathan October 8, 2010 Reply

      Hi Sandra, Like you, I also live in a beautiful place and just walking in the woods works wonders. Still, it is really nice to just go somewhere beautifully different to gain a fresh perspective. I also love the islands, Kauai especially.

  3. Farnoosh October 8, 2010 Reply

    Jonathan, I have never been to Oregon but I’ll tell you a secret – I was conceived in Oregon! :) My Mommy got pregnant with me in that beautiful state and then returned to Iran right before I was born….so there is a desire to see this beautiful place someday – and I just immersed in Bali’s beauty …… It is still with me….Oh inner peace, may it stay with all of us when we need it the most. Top notch photos!

    • Jonathan October 8, 2010 Reply

      Hi Farnoosh, so you are an Oregon seed. Hard to imagine the contrast between Iran and Oregon! There is so much amazing beauty in the unspoiled parts of earth and it always resonates with our most basic senses. I took those pictures with my little Casio super compact camera. It never disappoints.

      • Farnoosh October 9, 2010 Reply

        Casio super compact cam huh? And I can’t make my expensive Canon 50D to recreate that if I tried for the life of me. Gosh I love the “Oregon seed” title. You are too much fun, Jonathan.

  4. Adrienne October 8, 2010 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,
    I’m currently stuck in a van in the middle of Cincinnati traffic (not the driver), and happened to come across your wonderfully serene and delightful post. :) I would much rather be there right now, but it’s great to have a reminder that beautiful places are out there waiting for us. Just looking at your pictures helped me unwind and forget about the traffic, even if only for a moment.

    Aside from actually being in these places, it’s awesome that we can pause, take a deep breath, and allow our minds to take us back there. I try to get out in nature as much as possible, which makes the images much more vivid when I’m not. :-)

    Thanks for sharing your haven with us!

    • Jonathan October 8, 2010 Reply

      Hi Adrienne and welcome to Advanced Life Skills. I think that beautiful pictures of nature have a special way of transporting our minds to a feel good place where those natural experiences reside.

  5. Robin Easton October 8, 2010 Reply

    Geez, I wish you would post something that I liked!!! LOLOL!!! :) Well, you know “I” LOVE this. Your photos are stupendous. I want to eat them; they are so so gorgeous. I have to kayak here sometime. It is so green and I can feel the current and myself sitting in a kayak. What gorgeous country. What a magnificent river. I can hear the untamed roar of it in my head. I LOVE places like this. And like you, just to even stand near them sets me free, Jonathan. You were so blessed to have this trip. And I am grateful your love this kind of thing and share it here. Huge hugs, Robin

    PS You also know how much I hunger to have more of this in my life….something I am working toward. Thank you dear friend for being such an inspiration in my life.

    • Jonathan October 8, 2010 Reply

      Hi Robin, we were going to bring our kayaks but the forecast was calling for colder temps than would have been comfortable, so we didn’t bring them. That’s what we get for listening to the weather man. Turned out to be about 80 and the river was really up for September. Somehow we managed to have fun anyway! Actually we had a BLAST.

  6. Gail Brenner October 8, 2010 Reply

    Gorgeous photos, Jonathan. Thanks so much for sharing them. Sounds like a lovely time with your family.

    I absolutely love being out in nature. The natural world is so at peace. It doesn’t have a problem with anything – nothing needs to change. I think this is why nature relaxes us – it resonates with our deepest desire for peace.

    • Jonathan October 8, 2010 Reply

      Hi Gail, I feel exactly the same way. Sunriver is very close to Mt. Bachelor with some of the best snow skiing in Oregon so it is also very popular in the winter. I’m not really a snow person so fall suits me just fine.

  7. Suzie Cheel October 8, 2010 Reply

    Love the photos- they unwind you and transport you to that wonderful place. one of my places to unwind is to take a long beach walk and listen to the calming sound of the sea, with the sun warming my heart
    thanks for sharing

    • Jonathan October 8, 2010 Reply

      Hi Suzie, I absolutely love the beach also. The Oregon coast is pretty amazing, we go whenever we can.

  8. Tisha October 8, 2010 Reply

    Such beautiful, relaxing photos and a great reminder that slowing down and carving out time for leisure is essential to our overall well-being. I’m especially attracted to nature and being outdoors with beautiful scenery – or even just some trees and a grassy field or some body of water – always makes me feel at peace and more hopeful. My family doesn’t have that one special place yet, but I look forward to the time when we do. Thanks for sharing these lovely pics!

    • Jonathan October 8, 2010 Reply

      Hi Tisha, just think of all the great places you will discover looking for a very special one. We have lots of favorites but Sunriver is really special for biking and kayaking. We’re pretty fond of Kauai when it’s time for a big vacation. There are so many wonderful places, we just need to make the time for it.

  9. Zeenat October 9, 2010 Reply

    Oh Jonathan,
    Looking at your pictures…I think i felt the immense peace that your getaway spot exudes. So amazing!
    For me a getaway means just going to a near by park and watching my little girl play with her butterflies..and em with her ;)
    I love love love the pictures..so much so that I might actually take your permission to use them on my blog :)
    Lots of love,

    • Jonathan October 10, 2010 Reply

      Hi Z, like you I appreciate lots of different getaway spots. Living in the wood males it very convenient because all I need to do is go outside. Even so, I love the opportunity to go to the beach or somewhere like Sunriver whenever the chance presents itself. Sometimes I need to put miles between myself and my home office.

  10. Tom Sörhannus October 9, 2010 Reply

    You´re so right there Jonathan. Nature is a great destressing place. I myself live on the countryside and sometimes I get a feeling we take the nature for granted and don´t see ít´s beauty and advantages.

    • Jonathan October 10, 2010 Reply

      Hey Tom, I live in the forest and know exactly what you mean.

  11. Steven Aitchison October 9, 2010 Reply

    Wow Jonathan, these pictures are stunning, just looking at them takes me to a place of peace inside.

    I remember reading a book years ago called ‘Clan of the Cave Bear’ by Jean M Auel and the scenery she describes in the book is exactly like the pictures you have posted here.

    We have beautiful scenery like this in Scotland, except we don’t have the sun :)

    Any chance of getting me a green card and we’ll relocate :)

    • Jonathan October 10, 2010 Reply

      Hi Steve, I’ve always been intrigued by Scotland, it looks so green. Sometimes we get a little too much sun. It often gets over a 100 degrees here in the summer time although this summer was fairly mild and nice. It was about 80 the day these pictures were taken.

  12. Stacey October 9, 2010 Reply


    This is a beautiful reminder. Much of our society has become so seperated from nature they don’t know its amazing healing capabilities. There are so many ways to be out in nature, something for everyone to enjoy!

    Beautiful post, this looks like an amazing area, I will have to make it there some day. I love the cascades around the Bend area. Hiking through there last year on the Pacific Crest Trail was amazing!

    • Jonathan October 10, 2010 Reply

      Hi Stacey, the pacific northwest has so many beautiful spots. That must have been a great hike.

  13. Nea October 9, 2010 Reply

    You’re so right about the effects of nature on us. For some reason, I always feel at peace when I’m near a lot of trees and/or beautiful bodies of water. Nature has a way of making us feel grounded and in touch with who we really are. Truly amazing! Great post.

    • Jonathan October 10, 2010 Reply

      Hi Nea, I totally agree. I never could relate to city life. When I was growing up I always knew I would move somewhere where nature prevailed. I feel extremely blessed to live in this beautiful place.

  14. Mike King October 10, 2010 Reply

    Love the pics and points about needing and enjoying a getaway Jonathan. I must say, though that you should have such a place much more than once a year…. For me, I feel I need nature once a week…. Great photos, looks very beautiful indeed.

    • Jonathan October 10, 2010 Reply

      Hi Mike, The once a year thing only applies to this one particular family tradition. We love the rivers and coastline closer to home also. Thankfully we live in the forest and don’t see any other houses from our house. Those pictures you posted on your blog recently are so awesome, I would love to know where they were taken.

  15. rob white October 11, 2010 Reply

    Boy, that looks beautiful Jonathan…. I would melt right in there! It is part of my daily routine to walk around the pond where I live and commune with nature. It is an urban oasis but it I find a deep connection with nature there nevertheless. Realizing my connection with nature is the key to going through my day in peace and harmony.

  16. goodthingz October 14, 2010 Reply

    Love the freedom from stress tradition you do w/ your family!

    Biking & nature are the best stress relievers. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Vid November 10, 2010 Reply

    I often go to the nearby mountain to get a relief from my stress. I believe people are not designed to handle so much stress as we are facing in our everyday life.

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