Misty sunrise looking down on a green mountainside

Spiritual Wonder in a Stressful World

Too much homework? Upcoming job interview stressing you out? Find peace in what nature has to offer.

When I was 12, my family held a reunion at Itasca State Park, Minnesota. Cousins, aunts, and uncles came from all over the country to spend time together in the majestic forest. For one of the planned activities, we were supposed to sit together beneath the oak trees and write our feelings and thoughts of wonder about the world around us. As a kid, I did not fully enjoy the experience; I was more intent on goofing off with my cousins and anticipating the next activity, which had to be more interesting than sitting on a boulder.

Aerial view green pine forest with road and cabin highlighted in center


The more time has passed, though, and the more I have navigated the stressful, fast-paced life of a college student, the more I have come to appreciate the peace and wonder that comes with being in remote places. Finding peace in nature is a golden ticket to dealing with the stresses of life. Janis B. Nuckolls, in her devotional address “Finding Wonder in Remote Places,” discusses types of remote places and the spiritual connections we can make with Heavenly Father in them. I have experienced these types of spiritual connections and the peace that the outdoors can bring. Nuckolls says, “Such experiences can also lessen stress, reduce the kind of self-critical thinking which leads to depression, and can inspire greater humility, greater generosity, and more tolerance for uncertainty.”

Nuckolls quotes Mary Catherine Bateson, who said, “The starting place for any kind of religious sentiment is a sense of wonder because wonder leads to praise.” Where better to find wonder than in the beautiful nature that our God has created for us?

Click here to read and watch “Finding Wonder in Remote Places,” by Janis B. Nuckolls. 

Source: speeches.byu.edu

—Megan Crook, Latter-day Saint Insights


Find more insights

For more on navigating the stresses of the world, check out Thomas J. Stone’s article “Let’s Not Leave Jonny Behind” 

For more on making connections, read Cultivating Meaningful Connections” by Faith Sutherlin Blackhurst 

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