Feeling Stressed Out? Get Back to Nature

forest

It’s easy to get absorbed in the day to day of your life. You get up, go to work, come home, do your evening routine, and then it’s time for bed. Do this over and over, and soon you’ll feel as if you’re just a cog in the machine. This is amplified when the view from your window is a concrete jungle, your commute is typified by trains packed to the breaking point or traffic jams that go on for hours. There must be an escape from that insanity, a way to be more connected and alive.

No matter where you live, there’s most likely nature nearby. Getting out into nature provides an opportunity to recharge your batteries and ease your nerves. In fact, there are so many benefits to getting out in nature that making it a part of your weekly routine is essential to creating and maintaining good mental health.

Getting yourself out into nature will help you to refocus, relax and realign yourself to who you are and your greater purpose. After all, you are more than just a cog in the machine that gets a day or two of rest before you have to go out and do it all over again.


According to a 2019 study by Matthew White, getting out in nature for as little as a couple of hours each week can have powerful health benefits. Those benefits include: reduced stress and anxiety, better physical and mental health, and increased cognitive power. No special skills required. Just get outside and experience nature around you.


About 10 years before this study came out, I produced a video podcast called Relaxation Media. The purpose of these video programs was to give the viewer a few minutes of calming nature on their smartphone or computer and to simulate the feel of being out in nature. I believed then, as I do now that experiencing nature even virtually, has healing qualities. The podcast ended up becoming the #1 video podcast for wellness worldwide with thousands of downloads of each episode.


Today you can put on a pair of VR goggles and become immersed in a nature experience that’s so realistic your brain will actually believe you are outside. While this is a good way to reset, it’s even better to physically explore nature in your own area. Smell the trees, the grass, and the flowers. Hear the different bird calls and the gently flowing stream, if your park or recreational area has one. Even watching people play with their dogs and children will help to bring about a feeling of serenity.


Here are seven activities you can do to touch nature regularly:
1. Mindful Observation
Sit on a bench or somewhere that you can be still for some time. Then, just watch your surroundings. Listen to the sounds and tune into the smells around you. Experience it all. You don’t need to analyze or think about anything. Just be in the moment, a living part of the habitat. Breath deeply and feel.


At first, this will be extremely difficult. You may be able to mindfully observe your surroundings for only a few moments before reaching for your phone, wanting to take a picture, or otherwise disengage from the situation. Keep practicing and soon you’ll be focusing for 5, 10, 20, even 30-minutes at a time, just you and the nature surrounding you.


As I was sitting on a bench one afternoon, three lizards, a large spider, a centipede, and five different kinds of birds all stopped by to visit. These are things I never would have experienced if I’d had my face in my phone or been walking. Sitting still and letting nature come to you will reveal pleasant surprises.


2. Blind Emersion
For this exercise, close your eyes and let your other senses guide your experience. What do you hear? Is it approaching or receding? Which way is the wind blowing? How does the air smell? Touch the ground and just experience it, don’t label it. Just feel. This heightening of the senses brings me back to simpler days of playing in the park and letting my imagination run free. I hope it does the same for you.


3. Forest Bathing (Shinrin-Yoku)
In this Japanese practice, all you need to do is take a walk in nature and immerse yourself in the environment. Notice the terrain, plants, and wildlife you encounter as you walk. As above, soon you’ll have a sense that you’re connected to the environment surrounding you. That feeling provides both power and serenity.


4. Explore A New Natural Area Near You
If you are well acquainted with one park or natural area near you, look for another one that is close by. Set a date and time to explore this new area. That can make it feel like you’re going on a new adventure. What’s even better, if you have a friend that also likes being out in nature arrange to meet them there. Then you can enjoy the outdoors together. This is a great opportunity to strengthen your bond.


5. Sketch
Regardless of your artistic ability, sketching requires you to really observe your subject to capture its essence on paper. Whether you sketch the landscape, or the grass under your feet. Drawing your experience will help you to connect to nature t and experience a personal relationship with it.


6. Journal about your outdoor experiences
If you don’t like sketching, you can also do a bulleted journal about what you’re observing in your outdoor environment. How do you feel when you’re outside? What animals, insects, plants are you seeing? Are you seeing any people regularly? You may be inspired to write poetry or explore other creative outlets while you’re in nature too. Many of the greatest poets, writers and musical artists throughout history were inspired by nature.


7. Observation Over Time
If you visit the same spot on a regular basis, you’ll begin to recognize subtle changes. Noticing the differences from month to month and season to season is an experience you’ll carry with you. That recognizable ambiance is something that you can recall through meditation whenever you need mental or emotional realignment.


Tying it all together
Touching nature will increase your peace of mind, and it only takes a few minutes a day to engage with your surroundings. Whether you head to nearby open spaces or out to your own backyard, taking some time to connect with nature will help you to understand yourself and your environment in ways that are engaging and empowering.

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How to Create Effective Training

A guide to avoiding training that sucks As an entrepreneur, one of the hardest things you will do is bring new people on board to work your vision. The business has been your baby since its inception. Now you need to dilute that passion with employees. Not only that, but they also need to understand

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Live your life with purpose

Living a life of purpose makes it worth celebrating. It creates wealth that can never be taken away. Living with purpose gives you a reason to get out of bed every morning and leaves you feeling content as you lay your head down on your pillow each night.

Though, you may find it difficult to focus in on what you are meant to contribute in your lifetime. Finding purpose is something important, and you can discover yours by listening for your calling or creating yourself.

As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.

Listen to Your Environment

What were you born to do? Finding purpose from what comes naturally and in areas which you excel at puts you a step ahead. You may feel the need to deny these skills and abilities because they make you stand out from your peers. Don’t!

You were born to be special. Your natural talents are actually just a starting point. They give you opportunities to move beyond the norm and achieve unbelievable success if you are bold enough to embrace that.

Many times in sports the best players not only have the most ability but also the strongest work ethic. They are the ones who show up early and stay late. These players work with private coaches during the off season to get 1% better, knowing that those gains move them from great to all-stars and Hall of Fame level careers. If you are willing to put in the work, you can become spectacular too.

What comes easy for you?

There are things you do easily, and often dismissed as not a big deal, that are difficult for others to accomplish. Consider how you can use those abilities to make a difference in your life and the lives of others. Find steps to expand and develop these talents.

What do you like to do?

Consider some things you like to do and how you can make an impact through those. Maybe you are like me, a generalist as opposed to a specialist. I dabble in many areas from music to neuroscience with just a sliver of knowledge in a variety of areas. This joy for education helps me to understand situations and people in novel ways that few others see. I can then transfer information taken from one source and apply it to another. Helping bridge gaps for others.

Is there a purpose hiding in your past?

While traumatic experiences create memories that you would rather forget, you have survived a harrowing experience. As you ponder, why me? Consider what you can do to find a sense of purpose that takes you out of that unpleasantness and into an opportunity to aid others who may find themselves in similar situations to your own.

Your horrific experience is not the end of your life, just a chapter of it. Now discover what comes next and unlock the amazing powers that have been growing inside of you, waiting for the opportunity to be utilized.

Such was the case with Louis Braille, who lost his sight at the age of three. Frustrated by the lack of written knowledge available to those that could not see, he invented the Braille writing system by the age of 15.

Despite the system not being utilized in his lifetime, he continued to perfect it for uses in music, science and mathematics, textbooks, popular writing and correspondence. His system is still used around the world today as the de facto international written communication standard for the blind.

You may be like Louis Braille, finding the strength and purpose in your life through survival. Look those life altering experiences in the face. Then find the courage to make a difference in your life and the lives of others.

If you are finding it difficult to surmount those experiences, take a deep breath and do what you can to put the past behind you. What’s done is done, it’s history. Focus on today, and how you can build yourself a brighter tomorrow.

Sometimes it's just a matter of serendipity

If you have been fortunate enough to find talent and purpose through a serendipitous experience, such as a friend’s suggestion to try a new activity, or perhaps you stumbled on a fresh idea that has meaning for you in a video, article, or class, take the time to deeply explore these opportunities and the life changing effect success in one of these areas could have for you.

This is how I got started in writing. A friend suggested I try writing for an audience, and it has given me a way to share ideas and experiences with more people than I could have ever imagined. It’s possible that you are being guided towards a life changing contribution too.

Above all, listen. Regardless of how it got there, a desire to contribute is sprouting inside of you, and it is up to you to discover and nurture that.

When all else fails, create your own purpose

If you have difficulty finding purpose in your life through listening to your environment and past experiences, you can manufacture it.

Consider how you want to contribute and go for it. Take action every day or week, no matter how small. As you make progress, you will gain momentum. That force will help you through the slow times when you feel like your contributions are insignificant and a waste of time. They are neither. Sometimes the steps and success are visible and rewarding, and other times life is just a grind.

As you work to make contributions, take some time to get the bird’s-eye view. Stop and reflect on your journey. That will help you understand the next few steps forward. Don’t be afraid to readjust your methods and goals. With the clearer vision you have after you have gotten down the road a bit, you can chart more effective future steps.

The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn, the bird waits in the egg, and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities.

Summary

Reacquaint yourself with those experiences where you felt you had made a difference, even in the smallest of ways. Then focus on how you can continue to have an impact by taking action one step at a time. In these ways, your life will have a definite purpose.

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You Are What You Eat

abundance agriculture bananas batch

Get a daily dose of positivity

Your mind needs its daily helping of nutrition, just like your body. So what kind of nutrition does it need? It needs something positive for you to feel good about who you are and what you’re doing. You know what they say, “You are what you eat.”

Too often we sit down and read, or watch the news. Most of these stories focus on the negative. Crime, destruction and lack are common themes of most media outlets. To be more positive you need to shift your time away from these negativity snacks and towards a healthy diet of positivity and prosperity.

Choose what you consume

Filling your mind with positives will help you to reduce doubt and the feeling of helplessness. It is not something you can do just one time and expect lasting results, you’ve got to take your positivity daily. The world’s most successful people know this and they pay top dollar just to be in the presence of eternally optimistic people. You can do that too, inexpensively through video channels, podcasts, books and websites. 

Whether you choose old masters like Zig Zigglar, Earl Nightingale and Wayne Dyer, or a newer breed of motivational experts like Nick Vujicic, Tony Robbins and Eckhart Tolle. You will find that starting your day with a spoonful of their positivity will help you to feel more confident throughout your day.

Positivity helps you to keep limiting beliefs at bay. Limiting beliefs like “I can’t do it”, “I deserve to be unhappy”. “This always happens, so why should I expect anything different?” create a deep pain inside you that traps in your situation. Here Tony Robbins talks about how limiting beliefs create negative cycles and how quickly you can change them using what he calls ‘The Dickens Effect’

Positive affirmations

Another way to infuse your day with positivity is through affirmations. Positive affirmations are self-talk that focuses on what you can do and what is positive in your life. Doing affirmations helps you to increase your optimism and feeling of achievement. These help to chase away limiting beliefs that hold you in patterns which restrict your confidence in yourself and what is possible in your life. Here are 10 examples of positive affirmations. Use these, seek out others specific to your situation or make up your own.

  • Day by day in little ways, I am getting stronger.
  • If my mind can perceive it, my will can achieve it.
  • I will be the best version of myself today.
  • The only thing that stands between me and success is me.
  • This day is blessed, it is up to me to use its precious gifts.
  • I am a winner.
  • By meeting life’s challenges today, I will be more prosperous.
  • I will defeat my demons today.
  • The challenges I face today will make me a better person tomorrow.
  • At the end of the day, I will find pride in something I accomplished today.

Spiritual reading

Spiritual readings are also beneficial. Create a habit to take in a few verses or pages a day. This will give you a broader perspective on the issues and conflicts you face throughout the day, opening your mind to a plethora of opportunities you may not have considered otherwise. Enjoy these readings by ingesting them slowly, word by word. Let the ideas and concepts that resonate with you stick in your long term memory so that you can recall their lessons in the future.

You'll start to notice a change

Once you have let positivity in, it is hard to close the door to it. Eventually, you will start moving the needle towards having a more positive outlook on life.To continue the momentum you need to share your newfound optimism. Spreading that good feeling will not only help others but yourself as well. You will find that your moods are contagious.  So deliberately sharing positivity will help you to change your thought patterns and invite opportunity.

Increasing positive self talk reduces the space for negative ideas. Self talk, those ideas and internal dialogues you have, has a large impact on how you interact with your environment. Apart from listening to that conversation, actively change the way you frame those statements and questions to make them more positive ones. Here are some examples.

It’s too difficult. How can I get this done?

I don’t think I’ll like that. I don’t know if I’ll like it or not until I try.

It’s my fault. Let’s explore why this did not work.

This always happens. What can I do to make things better next time?

Summary

Finding ways to entertain positivity in your day will help you to have a more optimistic and happy disposition. It will support you in facing your challenges with a more creative approach. It will also make you more pleasant company, but it does take reinforcement to keep moving in the right direction. What you focus on expands, so choose to focus on the positive aspects of your situations and accept the challenges. They will move you forward.

According to the Mayo Clinic there are several benefits to being positive, those include: increased life span, lower rates of depression, better psychological and physical well-being, better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease and better coping skills during hardships and times of stress. 

And that all starts with adding a dose of positivity to your life.

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