Got Stress?


Don’t we all some days…

Imagery is an important stress reliever, and what could be more relaxing than watching horses graze a field as the landscape sleeps? Think about that one. The landscape, the trees, the insect life sleep in winter. Soon there will be an awakening of the landscape though, but no need to rush, relax.

What might that be telling people? One thing, winter is truly a special season for picture-taking, as the land lays bare and quietly sleeps under a blanket of fresh snow. So what does this have to do with stress? Well, a few things…


Horses are prey animals, and they evolved in environments very different from which they find themselves today. So did people.

It has been quite a while since us or the horses were running through the fields dodging hungry predators.

You know the difference between us and animals when being stressed? Animals are unstressed when the threat subsides. Us, not so much.

People worry about everything today, and in doing that, don’t focus on things really needing their attention. Animals don’t do that. Stress is one of the greatest tools an animal has to stay alive. It really gets them into quick action and reaction. Stress can be positive or negative.

I often think to times when humans really had a stressful life. It has a way of putting perspective on things in our daily lives today.


Humanoids faced extreme hunger, vast fluctuation in weather, being preyed upon like hamburger patties at the fast food restaurant. A clan of greasy burgers for the Sabre-Tooths?

You name it, that was some pretty stressful stuff for our ancient forebears. It was the eat or be eaten life. Look for lunch or be the lunch. Ketchup with that humanoid?

Ancient man also gravitated to pastoral scenery and pastoral communities. When asked today what scenic views are preferred, people across many cultures pick vast grassland scenes even if that is not where they grew up. So there must be something to why places like this are calming.


Now we get stressed out by some the stupidest things, like when a driver cuts you off in traffic or steals your parking space at the mall. How about giving a talk in front of a large crowd? That used to stress me until I had to lecture a class of 235 at my university. Me nervous? Heck no, or at least that is what I made myself believe.


What is better than taking a meditative moment in nature for those everyday stresses? Not much.


It is not like a wooly mammoth is going to jump out from the bushes to mow us down… so chill and enjoy the day. Go out and walk the fields, catch a few peaceful scenes and give the mind and body a rest.


It only takes opening that locked door keeping you inside.

Next post, a tree of sparrows in stress. Guess who’s coming for dinner?


About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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60 Responses to Got Stress?

  1. Christy says:

    Hi Donna! Another wonderful post filled with beautiful photos. I think working in the garden is a great stress reliever and I’ve said it time and time again…..after working so hard to make your garden beautiful, take the time to relax and enjoy it. Hiking is another great stress reliever. Just walk along and enjoy the scenery, sounds and wildlife. It’s amazing what you’ll see and hear!

    • I really don’t get the stress relief from working in the garden, most probably because it is too related to my job of design. I do like being in the garden though, especially with a camera. Now that is what I call relaxing. The only thing about gardens though, meditative gardens are great for zen like relaxing, but gardens full of color are usually gardens that excite where the eye is always moving. Gardens designed with all natural element are more relaxing than those that aren’t generally speaking.

  2. You are so right my dear Donna… what could be better than that!
    …and how beautifully shown!
    That door shot by the way is incredible!

  3. HolleyGarden says:

    You are right – our stress sensors are always on high alert! And it seems that we are never out of danger – we have to remain aware in parking lots, shopping malls, or even walking around our neighborhoods. One reason I hate listening to the news – it makes me untrusting of strangers. Have you noticed how we all avoid eye contact or smiling at each other? No wonder we’re all stressed! Maybe the world would be a nicer place to live if we all had pastures out our front door.

    • I can understand you not wanting to see the news. There is always too much that is depressing. And, not trusting strangers is a good thing now a days. I remember when as a kid, my parents never locked the front door. You can’t do that anymore. I think it would be a better place for everyone if we all lived where we had space around us. Space being natural landscapes separating each neighboring homestead. But space and land equals money, and most don’t have it in enough quantity. Now that is stressful.

  4. just looking at your photos and reading this has destressed me this morning… thanks!

  5. Hi! I felt a lot less stressed looking at your lovely photographs!

  6. Karen says:

    Hello Donna, this post is just what I needed today. (I am off to the DMV, need I say more?) Stress has robbed me of many things in my life, peace of mind being the big one. Far too often I worry about what others think and forget that it’s really none of my business. Why I add stress to my life worrying over things completely beyond my control is beyond me, but I still do it. Control over anything other than my own actions is an illusion anyway. I do believe for me it is a habit and not a good one. Thank you for this post, Donna, I really needed the perspective today.

  7. A.M.B. says:

    Just about everything stresses me out, though I’ve learned ways of coping with it. Talking a walk and spending time outside (preferably in a garden) works wonders. If I’m stuck inside, looking at pictures of beautiful landscapes often helps. Thanks for this post!

    • I can deal most days and look at things one at a time. In small bits, everything becomes manageable. Plus you have to avoid those that bring you down and relish in those that make you happy. Your kids are great little happy faces to have around.

  8. Loving your post – great captures:) I enjoy escaping to the great outdoors or looking at my landscape photography to reflect, meditate and calm the mind. I am developing my coping skills toolkit and learning to just let go – it is a freeing experience in my life so far, so continuing on. Thanks for sharing – Have a Great One!

    • I know after reading your post yesterday your outlook on stress. Now you see why I could not answer your question having this post scheduled ahead. Letting go is a great attitude. Not dwelling another. I always enjoy your posts because you have such a happy, healthy way of looking at things.

  9. alesiablogs says:

    As always a beautiful post from you destresses me! I am fortunate as I do not feel as stressed since leaving the work force. BTW–you change your header and the site a little. Looks nice.

  10. Brian Comeau says:

    Great reminder for us all Donna. I could use one daily… One of the many reasons I love to get outside a photograph. Helps me get away and forget everything else.

    • You do so much photography outdoors that I can only see you having good thoughts all the time. I know it might not be the case, but each of your posts is always so uplifting. Your images are those that make people have a calm feeling when viewing them. Water images are calming. When I saw on the History Channel the study on what people preferred, I was surprised it was not those by water and was those in savannah like scenery.

  11. catmint says:

    the next best thing to getting into nature to relieve stress – is to look at these photos!

  12. b-a-g says:

    I do feel jealous sometimes when I see animals grazing in pasture, but I guess they’ve got their own problems.
    Since the beginning of the year I started taking at least 30minutes away from my computer every day to go for a walk. It’s improved my working day and my life, nothing can stop me now, not even urgent deadlines or bad weather.

    • I think animals think in the moment, so as long as they are safe, they are problem free. Ever look at a cat? They never look to be bothered, unless another cat is around. They sleep so peacefully.

  13. Karen says:

    Enjoying nature is one of the best ways to relieve stress…there is so much beauty to enjoy.

  14. I loved the softness of the animal pictures. That last photo of the door was such a contrast! Thanks for the nice reminders to keep things in perspective.

  15. Beautiful pictures – your photographs always have such sharpness and clarity. Your comments remind me that I find watching bees collecting pollen to be incredibly soothing. There is no field with horses, nearby, but maybe I can find one.

    • Well, except the first two in this post. I really went for blur. Blur seems more calming. Horses were not needed for calm, but since we have snowy conditions, they look better in the field than not. The study was vast fields that were preferred and the images did not have any wildlife in them that I remember. Just lots and lots of green.

  16. sharon says:

    we have stress because we have developed a highly evolved unconscious (sub)..animals have the consciousness of a 2 year old… all we have to do is stay in our 2 year old “now” self……no problem…its just too hard to stop thinking.!!…animals have all the emotions we have they just dont stay in them as long and they really dont concern themselves with the future … it’s the price we pay as humans….I am teaching my granddaughter the philosophy of “make it work” whatever happens …I hope she learns earlier than me not to borrow trouble and to not hold a grudge….she will be more at peace than I was…

    • I did read a study on animals and how they think in the present with limited understanding of foresight or how the past relates. Having had horses and dogs my whole life and being with then constantly, I get what you are saying about emotion. Animals do get over things very quickly, but will remember people who have hurt them. It makes you wonder what ‘feelings’ they do have. Dogs have been shown at gravesides of their owners years after. Is that sadness? I wish there was a way to know what they are thinking and feeling. I believe they are more in tuned to our feelings. I think they read us better.

  17. janechese says:

    I like the vignetting and the soft focus of the first two. plus great details of the door and its hardware.Yes , getting outdoors into a natural place is a very good and desired, stress-release.

    • I could not function if I could not get outdoors often. When working in a firm and being stuck to my drafting table for 10 hours or more, that was not something I enjoyed. I need the release to be creative.

  18. Phil Lanoue says:

    Wonderful photos and commentary. Lowers my blood pressure just viewing this post. 🙂

  19. I love it! And will remember your advice the next time I must give a talk or that fool driver cuts me off!

    • Giving lectures was really a surprise, because I thought I would falter and freeze, but found out that because it was so many students, I was more concerned on getting my presentation done correctly with the computer slides and such. The mechanical stuff took my full attention, by having something to be doing constantly. Then lectures without slides became second nature in time.

  20. Yo are just right! I jogged this morning in and said hello to a friends’ dogs, as every morning they saluted me. And then past through to a friend’s stable and their horse, Gerany smiled (?). Early in the morning, what else can I ask for? best wishes for a very relaxed weekend!

  21. Patty says:

    While I am pretty good at handling stress, getting outside or in the garden brings me back to a happy and calmer place. Have a great weekend Donna.

  22. joserasan66 says:

    Muy Buena Serie De Fotografías… La Primera Es Realmente Preciosa, Me Encanta… Un Saludo.

  23. Interesting how grassland scenes is a common denominator with people. I really like your first shot. It has such a great mood about it. Very relaxing! I am one of those people who stress about stupid things. I always tell myself not to worry but I still do. Maybe I need to take a few deep breaths and look at scenery photos.

    • I was surprised to watch the study on the History Channel. All the scenes were equally beautiful, but when asked what each preferred, grasslands was the majority. Everybody has those certain things that push buttons. I try to ignore the actions of others, but sometimes you just can’t.

  24. Aida says:

    Hi Donna, your blog inspires me a lot. I’m new to blogger land and I’m still trying to work myself around it. I believe that our garden plays a big part in our life in terms of restoring our sanity!

    Hope you have a good weekend.


  25. Of course this would be one of my most favorite posts ever right? Horses and barns ! I love it ! Beautiful captures Donna.

  26. I agree we do let too much stress us out…I have learned to let so much go…work still is a stressor due to too many jobs continuing to be lumped on my time which is already full…the stress…not getting it all done in time…but even that I am letting go of…I love the lock on that door….is that from a garden or one of the fort visits? Nature is a natural relaxer and I bet it is in our DNA.

  27. I love a walk to clear my head. Clan of the greasy burger? hahaha Love the top photo with the horses blurred.

  28. I feel calmer already. Forgot to mention that I LOVE your new (seasonal?) BANNER. Through your winter lens cardinals RULE, so it’s fitting that one now opens and closes your posts.

  29. supernova says:

    Good stuff Donna. I agree, peaceful situations, meditation, activity, exercise, they do change ones frame of mind or ones perspective. I am one of those persons which need to embrace this more in my life. I worry constantly, sometimes its overwhelming. Its at these times one should try to embrace what works for you, exercise does it for me – mostly!
    Stress and anxiety in a flight or fight situation are very important to animal responses in a dangerous situation, this is where humans come undone I agree, we carry these thoughts on after a situation has passed, sometimes imagining all sorts of different scenarios.
    Thoughts escalate and one may even become stressed and obsessed about something which has not and may not even happen. In these times of, lets say, extended stress or anxiety we (humans) lose perspective, we cannot think rationally, the problem escalates and we make matters much worse, especially for ourselves etc.
    To find a way forward from these situations is what we need to discover about ourselves but I know this is much easier said than done.
    One may know the answers to anxiety and stress but one may still not be able to stop the horrible feelings, its very frustrating.
    Its so important for us (humans) to understand the effects of the complex life we lead and have faith that certain things can change our perspective for the better. We need to find these things and pursue them when we cannot think straight, to bring back some sort of rationality.
    Anyhow, I’ve said enough and have probably gone OTT as usual.
    Great post Donna, my regards James 🙂

    • Good comment and thoughts. You did hit a really good point on how stress escalates with people and one cannot think rationally, even if a situation never occurs. Animals don’t do that because they cannot think in rational ways ahead to what might happen. It keeps them more in focus in the present. I think having faith is a good thing too. It makes one calmer that things will work out for the better. Like you, I take a hike and burn off the anxiety that way. The mind goes somewhat blank and nature streams in along with happy thoughts.

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