As a child, I was always encouraged to go outside and play.I was born in a tropical country, so a walk in any direction usually meant green trees and beautiful blue water were never far away.

Unfortunately, when I became an adult I moved to the big city. Almost overnight, I lost my opportunity to connect with the outdoors. Soon, the years began to pass. I lived in a fifth-floor walk-up apartment with a fire escape and a gated window. I could see no trees outside, and I missed the feel of gentle breezes and blue water lazily lapping at my feet. In the city, I felt stifled. I yearned for what I’d given up, for what had helped sustain my soul.

Realistically, I couldn’t return to my tropical homeland, so here’s what I did. Whenever possible, I’d roam the length of a nearby park. After my walks, here’s what I learned: Even small bits of nature can take you home again

As told to Real Health