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3 Useful Hiking & Backpacking Tips

3 Useful Hiking & Backpacking Tips

If you’re a fan of nature and the great outdoors, chances are you’ve probably done some hiking, trekking, and/or backpacking at some point. The reality is that, despite the threat of global warming and the ever-changing landscape of the earth, more and more people are interested in outdoor pursuits in which technology and the ‘always on’ culture is almost completely forgotten about.

Although high in physical exertions, hiking can be a relaxing activity where you explore the great outdoors through footpaths, hills, country lanes, forests, fields, and more. The spirit of hiking lies in being able to bring people to the natural environment, and to know the heritage and reserves through the use of trails.

It’s a pursuit that is good for both the mind and the soul, alongside being good for the pocket, while opening ourselves up to new experiences, memories, and situations in which our adventurous spirits can feel free and plentiful. So, if you are that kind of person, here are some useful tips you must know before your next adventure.

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1. Choose the adequate travel partners or group

Have you heard the quote, “If you really want to get to know a person, you must travel together…?” Well, this couldn’t be truer. If you are traveling for an extended period of time, or in close proximity with someone, you get to know the good, bad, and the ugly of someone’s personality. While you don’t always have the luxury of choosing your travel partners, if you can, try to invite good friends you are comfortable with, or at least companions you know.

2. Select the right clothing and essentials

If you are a novice hiker, you may not be aware of what the essentials are, so it’s always best consult with someone who does or who can point you in the right direction. There are plenty of guides online that will give you the foundations and more.

When it comes to clothing, wear things that are predominantly made of synthetic materials that keep you dry as you start to work harder and sweat more. If you prefer to use pants (which is the most recommendable option), it should be made of durable, quick-drying fabrics such as spandex or nylon; that way, your legs will be protected from some of the hazards, and will keep you warmer when the temperature drops at night or in more extreme conditions.

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Making sure that you have boots that are durable, comfortable, and appropriate for those kind of conditions (like waterproof materials for example) is an absolute MUST! Remember that wearing the wrong boots or shoes could leave your feet aching and give you serious injuries. It can be surprising just how many ligaments and muscles there are in our feet that are susceptible to injury in the wrong shoes.

Something that can definitely help when leaning more towards hardcore trekking is a hiking stick or pole. When you use them, your upper body shares part of the workload of hiking, which also provides exercise to your forearms, arms, shoulders, and chest for a true whole-body workout.

To complement the clothing, there are some backpacking essentials that will keep you on the right path whatever the conditions:

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  • Navigation (map and compass).
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen.
  • A headlamp or a flashlight.
  • First-aid kit or supplies (pills, bands, rubbing alcohol).
  • Hydration and nutrition.

There are statistics surrounding people getting lost without being fully prepared, so it’s always better to prepare for the worst than just hoping for the best.

3. Know your destination

Essential to your plans is researching and understanding location, the weather, and terrain before you leave; if you want to add that extra layer of security, you should also invest in intermediate gear. Hiking and backpacking should be enjoyable, but you should also be prepared and aware of everything.

As with many other sports and activities, hiking has different difficulty levels: The low difficulty can be a one-day hike on level ground. A medium difficulty hike that might include spending a night camping, having some steep slopes, and carrying a more loaded backpack. A high difficulty hike may require prior experience, as well as carrying a tent, sleeping bag, heater, high calorie foods, and even being accompanied by an experienced guide.

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You also need to remember that when you are out embracing nature, you should always ensure that you do as little as possible to disturb the environment or ecosystem that you are sharing on your trip, and leave the location as you found it, something championed by the Leave No Trace initiative.

When you plan your trip, check out the options for tours and guides, like Big Wild Adventures who offer Yellowstone backpacking tours in an environment that is not to be taken for granted with its difficulty and danger, but also its natural beauty.

The important thing here is that you need to make this experience something exciting that invites you to come back and do it again. There are a large number of trekking and hiking federations and groups who organize mountain activities and walks all around the world. These activities are regulated by a series of safety standards, environmental protection rules, and professionalism, and their goal is to let you enjoy your life plentifully discovering almost every place in the planet.

Featured photo credit: backpacker.com via media.backpacker.com

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Last Updated on January 17, 2019

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

Listen carefully:

We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

1. Pray Daily

You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

3. Smile Often

Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

4. Organize Your Working Desk

A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

How do you do that? This is my formula:

First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

8. Go Exercise

Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

The Bottom Line

It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

More Resources About Mindfulness

Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

Reference

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