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Science Explains How Camping For A Week Can Largely Change Your Productivity

Science Explains How Camping For A Week Can Largely Change Your Productivity

Camping – More Than Just A Vacation Option!

Millions of us make camping trips each year, usually as a way of escaping the stresses of daily life and having fun with family and friends. However, camping isn’t just a fabulous way to spend your vacation time. Research has demonstrated that switching your routine and aligning yourself more closely with nature can help you get into the habit of keeping regular, healthier sleeping hours and boost your productivity as a result.

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How Camping Helps Improve Your Sleep Pattern

Have you ever noticed that when you camp, you feel more inclined to rise early in the mornings? Camping allows us to get back in touch with the world around us, reset our body clocks and help us face each new day with renewed energy and purpose. Many of us have an unnatural sleep pattern because we expose our bodies to lots of artificial light. As a result, instead of waking up with the sunrise and feeling sleepy as the sun sets, we manipulate our bodies into an artificial sleep schedule that can leave us feeling tired and lethargic in the mornings.

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Research published by Kenneth Wright and colleagues in the journal ‘Current Biology’ found that abstaining from artificial light sources for a week helps even those who consider themselves to be ‘night owls’ to get up early in the morning as the sun rises. Volunteers took a camping trip and gave up all exposure to manmade light sources, including torches. This forced them to sleep in accordance with nature’s rhythms, and within days they had begun to wake naturally at sunrise. Just imagine what you could get done and how much more efficient you could become at work if you started to awaken naturally in the early morning!

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Rise Early, Be Productive

This research has exciting implications, because studies have shown that rising early in the morning is associated with greater productivity. Jens Bonke from the Rockwool Foundation Research Unit published a paper in the Annals of Economics and Statistics demonstrating that those who find it easier to get up early in the morning or to describe themselves as ‘morning people’ tend to earn more money than those who prefer to get up later. He suggests that because western society is set up to favour, encourage and reward those who work eagerly from the start of the working day rather than wait until the afternoon or evening to pick up momentum, ‘morning people’ enjoy greater overall success, greater productivity and ultimately earn more compared with those who prefer to go to bed late and start their most intense work mid-morning or later.

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Additional Benefits

If you suffer with insomnia, a camping trip free from all artificial light sources could be just what you need in order to get into a healthier sleep-wake cycle. Research by Susan Bolge and colleagues published in the journal ‘Quality of Life Research’ demonstrates that a lack of high-quality sleep significantly impairs not only life satisfaction in general, but on work productivity. Therefore, if you find it difficult to get enough sleep and feel as though your job performance is suffering as a result, try cutting down on artificial light and spend a few days in nature!

The next time you feel the need to take a trip away, consider packing a tent rather than picking out a hotel. Not only is it generally a cheaper option, but you could enjoy the benefits of your vacation long after you return. If you can’t find the time to take a whole week off, a couple of days or a long weekend is still better than nothing and offers you other benefits too such as fresh and the opportunity to relax in a natural setting.

Featured photo credit: Noel Bauza via pixabay.com

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Jay Hill

Jay writes about communication and happiness on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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