Nature: A Green Prescription for HealthJune 15, 2010
Nature: A Green Prescription for Health.
When was the last time you experienced nature? How did it make you feel? Spending time in, and increasing one’s awareness of, nature can have a rejuvenating effect on the spirit and create a more balanced personal and professional life. Learn how to cultivate awareness of and balance with the natural world around you to enhance your relationships and maximize your mental health and clarity.
Thank you for reading the summer issue of the Leap Forward Coaching, LLC Newsletter. This newsletter is inspired by clients who are working with me to achieve a richer and more fulfilling life. I hope you find at least one suggestion, thought, or idea to inspire and encourage you. In this edition, our topic is Nature: A Green Prescription for Health. Learn to become more fully attuned to nature, the weather, and seasons. We’ll explore the benefits of incorporating nature into our personal and professional lives.
May your New Year be filled with peace, joy, and fulfillment, Melanie Ott
Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each. ~Henry David Thoreau
The subtlety of nature is greater many times over than the subtlety of the senses and understanding. ~Francis Bacon
Tonic of Wilderness: Bring Nature Into Your Life
When was the last time you experienced nature? How did it make you feel? Many of us spend our lives largely indoors. We commute in cars, spend our days in an office building or at home, and even exercise inside. Even before Henry David Thoreau coined the phrase “Tonic of Wilderness,” most people have known that spending time in, and increasing one’s awareness of, nature can have a rejuvenating effect on the spirit and create a more balanced personal and professional life.
A recent University of Rochester study found that nature makes us nicer, bringing out social feelings, and enhancing our value of community and close relationships. Additional benefits include more rapid healing, stress reduction, improved mental performance, and vitality.
In summertime we are often more aware of the lack of nature in our lives, as blue skies and warm temperatures beckon to us from outside our buildings and automobiles. Even then we can become focused on what we are missing instead of trying to infuse our lives with more natural experiences. Try these for mini-doses of the tonic of wilderness:
- Studies have shown that a scenic commute cuts stress. Try changing your route, even just a few times a week. If the interstate is your only option, try to increase your awareness of the natural elements you do still encounter, such as blue skies, green grass, or the trees along the highway.
- Consciously choose to take some of your regular activities outdoors. For example, eat your lunch (or even breakfast) outside. Hold a meeting outside at a picnic table. Instead of heading to the gym, go for a run in the park. Even better, forgo an hour of television in the evening and unwind by taking a walk in your neighborhood.
- Bring the natural world indoors by mimicking nature in design elements. Use the five elements of Feng Shui – Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water – to bring a natural balance to interior spaces. Use natural daylight for tasks whenever possible. Move your workspace near a window; if you don’t have a great view, make one by incorporating scenic art into your home or office.
Tips For Practicing Seasonal Mindfulness
Try these tips for seasonal mindfulness to increase your gratitude for and sync yourself with the weather around you.
- Notice one seasonally relevant aspect of your surroundings every day. In the summer, this may mean noticing the feeling of the warm sun on your skin, white clouds against the blue sky, or the chirping of crickets on a quiet night.
- Check in with your body’s reaction. Bad or unpleasant weather can cause our bodies to tense, as we anticipate going out into a storm or feel our body temperature growing uncomfortably warm. Relaxing your body can lessen weather’s stressful impact.
- Increase your awareness of the weather and your likes and dislikes, and ask yourself, “What constructive action can I take in this moment?” Circumstances might call for you to take a moment to change or adjust your clothing to make yourself more comfortable. You may find it helps to plan ahead and keep an umbrella nearby.
- Practice gratitude for the way that the weather is at this moment. Remembering the cold days of winter may help you appreciate a blazing hot day; appreciating the slow calm of a summer evening may make you more tolerant of the humidity.
Further Reading on Multitasking & Mindfulness …
- Five Ways to Get More Nature Into Your Life (Rodale)
- Positive Design – Mimicking Nature (Psychology Today)
- Nature Makes Us More Caring (University of Rochester)
Focus on the Future …
What do these important issues have to do with you? Simply put: cultivating awareness of and balance with the natural world around you can maximize your mental health and clarity while enhancing your relationships.
At Leap Forward Coaching, LLC, we have a process that will empower you to live more skillfully by increasing your awareness of the forces and factors shaping your self-image, worldview and your ability to achieve your full potential for success and happiness. By guiding you through your life as it unfolds, we can help you become more fully aware of your strengths, resilience and resourcefulness.
Leap Forward Coaching, LLC