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Get Your Nature On

Are you a nature lover? When was the last time you went outside just to be, just to be present with nature? It is so easy to get wrapped in the to-do list and the stressors of daily living such that slowing down to sit in nature seems impossible.


Truth time. Our bodies and minds were not designed to go-go-go all the time. Our bodies need to cycle through periods of activity and rest; so do our minds. Taking a brain break is not only nice, it is necessary for optimal learning, growth, mood, and performance. When you don't allow your brain downtime you put yourself at risk of chronic stress and burnout which can lead to numerous mental and physical ailments including anxiety, depression, heart disease, and stroke. Downtime is not a luxury, it is a health necessity.


In our mental downtime, the mind is not inactive, it is differently active. This means that our brains don't shut off, rather different areas of the brain become activated. This is called the brain default mode network and is akin to daydreaming; taking time away from screens, people, and work, to let the mind wander and soak in whatever is around you. It is thinking that has no explicit goals in mind...in other words, just being. This is where nature comes in. Spending time in nature is a perfect antidote to the hustle of modern living, activating the brain default mode network which is linked to creativity, problem-solving, attention restoration, and feelings of well-being (Suttie, 2016).


A photo from a neighbourhood walk


Are you sold yet? The benefits of spending time in nature are so incredible (increased mood, improved health, refreshed attention, bursts of creativity, better problem solving, even increased kindness!) it is hard to believe that more people aren't committed to spending some time in nature every day.


I hear you, it is hard to find the time. Our lives are overstuffed with lists, projects, chores, and tasks. There will always be that one more thing to add to the mix. I wonder though, is this what you want from your life; a sense of chronically being behind, stressed, forgetful, and anxious? I know I don't. This doesn't have to be the way. In fact, taking time to unplug our brains from this grind actually improves our efficiency when we plug back in. You make time by taking time.


My invitation to you is to create time for daydreaming every day. It doesn't have to be in nature, however, my experience has been that nature has a particularly soothing and seamless way of shifting me into the brain default mode network.


Feeling overworked? Anxious? Depressed? Worn out? Stressed? Forgetful? Inefficient? Out of ideas? My recommendation? Get your nature on.




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