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Spending Time In Nature Can Make You Feel Younger And Happier, Study Finds

Spending Time In Nature Can Make You Feel Younger And Happier, Study Finds

What’s nature got to do with it? Plenty.

As the owner of two male Samoyeds, I am often outdoors walking my two 80-pound furry friends. I especially enjoy walking them in the wooded parks or state conservancies not far from my home, where there is plenty of nature to enjoy. From noticing those squirrels doing their tricks, to finding food, to the large-eyed, white-tailed deer being so still in their surroundings yet listening to the most quiet whispers—nature is all around. I even marvel at how the endless varieties of birds (bluejays, woodpeckers, cardinals, finches, sparrows, robins, and hawks) share food and live together. It’s pretty amazing.

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Nature revives our energy and inner spirit and can teach us major lessons if we are willing to observe and understand. Getting in tune with it can help optimize our immunity and ultimately our wellbeing. Sound far-fetched? It’s really not. It’s quite simple. It’s natural—which, by the way, comes from the word “nature.” Even Albert Einstein professed, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”

Many ancient civilizations have observed, praised, and honored nature. For example, native American Indian tribes used nature to guide their health as well as decisions about their welfare.

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From the very ancient wisdom of Ayurveda to more recent studies, such as one conducted by Ming Kuo from the University of Illinois, being in and observing nature can offer you plenty of health benefits. Here are just a few.

Nature Can Calm You.

Ever walked barefoot in the warm sand or dewy grass? It’s very grounding. And being able to physically feel the ground helps your body to achieve balance and a sense of serenity. Being in nature is stressless. It truly demands very little of us. It hints at relaxation, beauty (which often goes unrecognized) and a sense of bliss. Perhaps Anthony Douglas Williams was thinking about being in nature when he said, “Silence has a mysterious calming effect, allowing your soul to be at peace with your thoughts.”

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Nature Can Boost Your Immunity.

The opposite of being stressed is being relaxed. So, as nature calms you, your stress level reduces. And lower stress levels allow your own body’s immunity to increase. A study conducted in Japan showed that people who walked through forests and parks for a few hours every day had a reduced level of cortisol (stress hormone), lower pulse rate, and lower blood pressure than those who walked in a city area. And the natural vitamin D from sunshine and negative ions are inherent in nature. Perhaps the fresh air of a more natural setting will do your respiratory system some good as well. And what you breath in can have an impact on your body’s ability to stave off illness or disease.

Nature Can Help You Feel Refreshed And Rejuvenated.

While nature can calm you, reduce your stress levels, and boost immunity, there is something just so darn refreshing about being in the great outdoors, right? Many people who practice outdoor sports, such as running, hiking, skiing, biking, fishing, golfing, or sailing (to name a few), partly enjoy that activity simply because they are outdoors and get to feel the wind against their face, the sunshine on their back, or the sand and water against their skin. Nature touches them physically and emotionally! It seems to revive their sense of vibrancy, healing them and rejuvenating them. You have probably experienced these same sensations even with a simple walk in a forest or along a beautiful beach. This is how I feel as I walk with my Samoyeds each and every day!

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Nature Can Help Teach You Life Lessons.

Watching animals behave in nature is a serious passion for some people. This pasttime can help us to learn how to better handle challenges, get along with others, become self sufficient and resilient, and to slow down to relish “in the calm” of our lives. We have so much to learn from animals, if we could learn to become quiet and more observant of their behaviors.

All of these wonderful benefits of nature give way to feeling younger, stronger, and mentally happier. So, will you opt for watching the next reality show or the “real” show of nature?

Featured photo credit: Olive Picking via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

What do I want to do with my life? It’s a question all of us think about at one point or another.

For some, the answer comes easily. For others, it takes a lifetime to figure out.

It’s easy to just go through the motions and continue to do what’s comfortable and familiar. But for those of you who seek fulfillment, who want to do more, these questions will help you paint a clearer picture of what you want to do with your life.

1. What are the things I’m most passionate about?

The first step to living a more fulfilling life is to think about the things that you’re passionate about.

What do you love? What fulfills you? What “work” do you do that doesn’t feel like work? Maybe you enjoy writing, maybe you love working with animals or maybe you have a knack for photography.

The point is, figure out what you love doing, then do more of it.

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2. What are my greatest accomplishments in life so far?

Think about your past experiences and the things in your life you’re most proud of.

How did those accomplishments make you feel? Pretty darn good, right? So why not try and emulate those experiences and feelings?

If you ran a marathon once and loved the feeling you had afterwards, start training for another one. If your child grew up to be a star athlete or musician because of your teachings, then be a coach or mentor for other kids.

Continue to do the things that have been most fulfilling for you.

3. If my life had absolutely no limits, what would I choose to have and what would I choose to do?

Here’s a cool exercise: Think about what you would do if you had no limits.

If you had all the money and time in the world, where would you go? What would you do? Who would you spend time with?

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These answers can help you figure out what you want to do with your life. It doesn’t mean you need millions of dollars to be happy though.

What it does mean is answering these questions will help you set goals to reach certain milestones and create a path toward happiness and fulfillment. Which leads to our next question …

4. What are my goals in life?

Goals are a necessary component to set you up for a happy future. So answer these questions:

Once you figure out the answers to each of these, you’ll have a much better idea of what you should do with your life.

5. Whom do I admire most in the world?

Following the path of successful people can set you up for success.

Think about the people you respect and admire most. What are their best qualities? Why do you respect them? What can you learn from them?

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You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.[1] So don’t waste your time with people who hold you back from achieving your dreams.

Spend more time with happy, successful, optimistic people and you’ll become one of them.

6. What do I not like to do?

An important part of figuring out what you want to do with your life is honestly assessing what you don’t want to do.

What are the things you despise? What bugs you the most about your current job?

Maybe you hate meetings even though you sit through 6 hours of them every day. If that’s the case, find a job where you can work more independently.

The point is, if you want something to change in your life, you need to take action. Which leads to our final question …

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7. How hard am I willing to work to get what I want?

Great accomplishments never come easy. If you want to do great things with your life, you’re going to have to make a great effort. That will probably mean putting in more hours the average person, getting outside your comfort zone and learning as much as you can to achieve as much as you can.

But here’s the cool part: it’s often the journey that is the most fulfilling part. It’s during these seemingly small, insignificant moments that you’ll often find that “aha” moments that helps you answer the question,

“What do I want to do with my life?”

So take the first step toward improving your life. You won’t regret it.

Featured photo credit: Andrew Ly via unsplash.com

Reference

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