A recent study indicates that the current unsettled political climate, the threat of radical Islamic terrorism, and a rise in worldwide nationalism threatening the collapse of the European Union are stressing out people everywhere. The result of this tumultuous state of affairs is leading people to stress-induced eating and weight gain.
A poll by the American Psychological Association asked whether the current political climate is stressing them out, and more than half of respondents said yes. One writer for NPR suggested an antidote for stress-eating is to step away from the headlines. I think I can add to that antidote by adding my own solution:
Think about it. Using the purist definition of boondocking – “camping without hookups or amenities away from civilization” – such as on America’s public lands managed by the Forest Service, BLM, Fish & Wildlife Service, and others will likely put you out of range of the round-the-clock cable news headlines, TV’s talking heads, and Social Media feeds that bombard us every day inside the bubble of “civilization” in which we live and work.
I know. Cutting off the digital world sounds hard. You likely will not be able to check your email or your Facebook page. All those notifications that ping in on your smartwatch or smartphone will stop. In fact, your smartphone will be suspiciously dormant. But don’t worry, being out of civilization does not indicate the onset of a chronic disease nor is it the sign of a hearing loss.
But listen closer, what are you hearing. Maybe the rustle of wind in the pines, a stream tumbling down over a rocky streambed, or birds singing in the brushy undercover to their heart’s content. What could be better than that? Oh, well, maybe casting your line into the stream
and coming up with a fine fat trout to pan fry over the campfire for dinner.
And at night, unless the moon is out, it may be too dark to walk outside without a flashlight. But I have a hint for you. Go outside anyway. If it’s too dark to walk stand there, quietly. Yes, just stand there. And you know what? Pretty soon your eyes will automatically adjust to the darkness (isn’t that amazing) and you will start to see things that you couldn’t see just minutes before. Maybe even a few night critters scurrying around, like the cute little kangaroo rats with their bushy tail tip, or the diminutive and secretive kit foxes, or a great horned owl swooping low on the hunt.
But that’s not all. Look up. Up into the sky. Do you know what that string of little twinkling lights is all about. It’s the thouosands of stars making up the Milky Way! When is the last time you saw that in all its glory?
Now be honest. After you got used to being free from your accustomed “noises of civilization” did you really miss them. Certainly not the constant sounds of traffic, or horns blowing, or TVs blaring. And did you start to hear sounds you don’t normally hear in you usual environment?
Hmmm. There might be something to this boondocking as a cure for stress (though probably just temporary, so you’ll have to do it often, heh heh).