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Science Explains How Spending Time In Nature Boosts Kindness And Generosity

Science Explains How Spending Time In Nature Boosts Kindness And Generosity

According to research that has taken place in Japan, Finland and Texas, people who took walks or were shown images of nature were found to have a natural decline in heart rate. When stress becomes an overwhelming burden, it’s the exact opposite. If nature can reduce the stress levels riveting people’s lives, then generosity and kindness are bound to follow suit. When agitated, it can be difficult to take the time needed to make sure you are calm and collected. You might snap at your friend for something they said without even realizing it. Your nerve endings having taken the increased heart rate into a zone of animosity that can be quelled by visiting the wonders of the earth.

Participants in studies from the University of California have been done on kindness to see if kindness is more willing to be shown in nature. In economic games — The Trust Game and the Doctator Game — trust and generosity were measured. It was found that the people who viewed images of beautiful nature acted more trusting and kind than the people who were not shown them. In a separate study about kindness, individuals were asked to fill out emotional surveys while either sitting next to plants or not next to visually stunning plants. After the survey people were asked if they would volunteer making paper cranes, the researchers noted that the participants who sat next to the plants were more generous and willing to make more.

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This type of research gives a small look at the many values that nature offers, and the best part is, it’s everywhere around us. Think back to the times when you were younger and running around during recess, the imagination as free and wild as can be. Think of the times of playing in the park and being free, meeting other kids who were willing to play games with you. There’s a natural kindness that seeps through us when we are just sitting in the presence of nature’s landscapes.

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There’s a reason why people in cities are always viewed as standoffish. Everyone is walking around with massive buildings and through crowded streets. There’s trash laying dormant on the street, cars impatiently waiting for you to cross the sidewalk and a lack of the green embrace of the world. In my head I see cities textured in a gray fog. When I think of nature I see illustrious images with full colors and the world, instead of the man made towers that constrict and take away from that.

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The researchers from California also made the observation that positive emotions come from being surrounded by nature, which begins to emanate from individuals as prosocial and kind behaviors. Maybe the next time you’re feeling caught under and ready to snap, think of taking a refreshing walk through nature. Let the air blow through your hair and instill the generosity in your soul.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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