Posts for tag: Nature
Spring is fast approaching! This lovely season in Florida is the perfect time to start spending more time outdoors. For many of us who work indoors, it might require a bit more effort and planning to make sure that we get enough fresh air and natural light. A typical schedule during the week might include eight hours in an office, a drive home, and then an evening indoors. Perhaps mixed in that timeline, you pick up your children from school or their extracurricular activities and or you exercise at an indoor gym or studio.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American spends 93% of their life indoors! The scientifically-proven health benefits of spending time outdoors and in nature are quite vast. To receive these benefits, you don’t even necessarily need to make a grand effort. Spending time in any type of greenspace can benefit your overall health and wellness in over a dozen ways.
These benefits include reduced inflammation, improved short-term memory, lowered stress levels, increased energy, lessened symptoms of depression and anxiety, decreased blood pressure, boosted immune system, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and type II diabetes; heightened concentration, increased creativity, and a reduction in pain in the body. Spending time outdoors is also a surefire way to get your daily dose of vitamin D, which many of us are deficient in.
Ready to spend more time outdoors?
Here are some easy ways to work some outdoor-time into your daily schedule.
- Enjoy your morning beverage on your patio or balcony
- Dine al fresco
- Exercise outside
- Take an extra or an extra-long walk with your dog (Your dog will definitely appreciate this effort.)
- Create an outdoor ritual
- Pursue an outdoor hobby (running, tennis, swimming, biking, nature photography, hiking-the possibilities are endless!)
- Plan an outdoorsy vacation
- Take an after-dinner bike ride
- Watch the sunrise or sunset
- Build a garden (If you don't have the greenest thumb or don't have a lot of outdoor space, the Tower Garden is a great option! Dr. Blake or Honi can tell you more about it if you are interested. They are both experienced Tower Gardeners.)
- Walk or bike instead of driving when possible
Proven Way to Joy #20: Connect with the spirit and soul in whatever way works for you. Awaken awe, wonder, and amazement for what you encounter in life.
When was the last time you found yourself in complete awe? What was it that caused that awe-struck feeling? Was it a panoramic view at the end of a long hike? Did you watch the sunrise over the Atlantic and witness the sky and world come alive in a burst of chromatic colors? Was it a field of wildflowers that caught your eye on a long drive down a lonely road? There are truly infinite awe-inspiring moments; you just have to open your eyes to them.
Beauty and wonder is all around us. In the smallest details of the nature world, there are captivating works of art that are often overlooked because we forget to stop and look. W.B. Yeats put it quite perfectly in that, “the world is full of magic things patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
Our senses have been dulled down due to the over stimulation of technology and our technology driven lives. Our eyes find themselves more often focused on a cell phone, a computer screen, or television than on pelicans flying overhead in perfect formation at the beach, on yellow butterflies quietly pollinating flowers in the yard, or the celestial lighting of the sky following the setting of the sun. We miss the bigger picture because we fail to look up.
It is the wings of iridescent Luna moths, in the song of the morning birds, the smell of the pines after a rainstorm, and the taste of salt on your lips after a dip in the ocean that has this unparalleled ability to ground and heal us. John Muir once said, “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal the body and soul. “
Every living and nonliving entity is interconnected. Together we make up the world. There is a beautiful energy that flows through our world and is exuded in different forms, like the intricate patterns of coral, the seductive colors of a peacock’s tail feathers, the enveloping fragrance of frangipanis, or the deep-set dimples on a smiling face. We can harness this energy simply by taking notice of it. It is all around us. It is this spark that has the power to release joy biochemicals in our brains, which are responsible for our level of happiness.
There is something worthy of our attention, even if just for a sweet moment, around us at all times. When you learn to look you might be surprised at what you see. It is often in the little things that we find something much grander. Happiness blossoms from these small things. Feed your soul with the energy of our natural world! Find that energy by simply opening your eyes to it.
Proven Way to Joy # 16: Light and Nature Therapy
Close your eyes and imagine walking barefoot down a cool dirt path that is canopied by ancient trees that whisper a wisdom that you might not have known that you were seeking. The air is dense with the perfume of the earth and the cacophonous sound of birds, morning cicadas, and leaves touching their neighbors. The sun shines down through the cracks in the canopy creating a hazy glow that is warm and inviting. You make it a point to step in the sunbeams as you take this walk. Imagine doing this everyday.
Stepping out into the sunlight and finding a moment to spend with nature are two of the most naturally therapeutic indulgences that you should grant yourself on a daily basis; even if just for 30 minutes. For a lot of us, we find ourselves confined to the indoors more often than we find ourselves outside. We have jobs, homes, families, exercise classes, and errands to attend to. We travel inside of a car, bus, subway, or plane more often than we walk or bike. We are exposed to artificial light, controlled temperatures, and barriers against the elements.
“Light therapy is the natural process by which bright light enters the eye, travels to the pineal gland, and alters one’s brain chemistry. It creates a more uplifted state of well-being by greatly elevating levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are energizing and activating.”-Hana Matt
There are so many opportunities to engage with nature in the energy of the sun, regardless of where you are. You might find this invaluable time together on the beach, on a hiking trail, in a park, in your backyard, on a bench underneath a tree, in a courtyard where you take a break from work…the possibilities are endless. Whether you are a city dweller, a suburban citizen, or an off-the-grid resident, you can find the voice of nature and the rejuvenating embrace of the sun openly offering their healing properties to you. You just have to be open to receiving them.
Henry David Thoreau once said, “I took a walk in the trees and came out taller than the trees.” When you allow yourself to return to the roots of our ancestors, who lived within nature under the sun rather than on top of her, you will find that there is a deep primordial bond that connects you to the earth. When you discover this connection with the natural world, you will find that your own light is more easily accessible.
Spending thirty minutes a day outside is an opportunity to reconnect with yourself, quiet your mind, listen to your inner voice, and let a peaceful joy shine through you. It is easy to forget to take these types of moments. Taking some time outside in the light of the day each day will have joyous consequences.
Don’t forget to wear sunscreen!
Thanks for sharing a smile with us this week.