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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 January 18, 2019

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

1. Limit the time you spend with them.

First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.

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In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

2. Speak up for yourself.

Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.

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But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

Why else would they be sharing this with you?

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5. Change the subject.

When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.

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You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

7. Leave them behind.

Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

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