It was a very good lunch at my favorite local Chinese restaurant. Along with the check came one of my favorite parts, the fortune cookies.

Mine said: “Nature, time and patience are the great healers.” Do you agree?

Nature heals our body, through our immune system when it is healthy. Nature heals our mind by associating with its beauty through relaxation. Nature heals through its medicinal plants, light, foods and other resources.

“Time heals all wounds,” is a saying I’ve heard as encouragement in the present, suggesting we give whatever concerns us a little time. The wounds can be both mental or physical, real or imagined. Allowing time to pass helps us gain perspective and temporal distance from the event or situation.

Often, time is the actual remedy, a mending bone or recovery from an accident or illness takes time. Time allows the sharp edges of emotions to blunt enough to allow us to relook at whatever happened. This can help us reexamine exactly what occurred, our actions and reactions about it. It might suggest how we would respond to a similar event in the future.

Often, with time, comes wisdom too. During the expanse of time we have new experiences, new insights, and new information. These can help us gain a healthy perspective or reconcile the situation. Time won’t always heal if we refuse to look at the past realistically or if we choose to carry a grudge or knowingly continue to exhibit dysfunctional behaviors.

Patience heals because through it we allow nature and time to work their alchemy. If we are not a good patient, we won’t heal correctly or at all. Without patience we often give ourselves no psychological rest, when that is exactly what we require.

We might not like it that a cold lasts a week, but fighting it by pushing ourselves instead of resting to recuperate often only prolongs our recovery. No matter how much we want that baby here now, it still takes nine months for a healthy full term pregnancy.

No matter how much we want something, there are times when our impatience hinders rather than helps.

Nature, time, and patience work together in a synergistic way if we will recognize it and help the process. We have a significant, often required, role in any healing we experience. When a situation or event has caused the need for healing, commit to do your part to allow nature, time and patience to work their wonders.

Tim O’Brien writes continuing-education courses and presents seminars on stress management.

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