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20 Stunning Nature Photos That Will Leave You Speechless

20 Stunning Nature Photos That Will Leave You Speechless

Maybe you have seen dramatic photos of natural phenomena that leave you breathless, amazed or even frightened. They can be anything from freak weather to astronomical mysteries or weird rock formations and landscapes.

Here are my top 20 favorite stunning nature photos of all time.

1. Danxia, China

Danxia

    Colorful sandstone and minerals deposited over millions of years give us the incredibly varied landscape in this stunning nature photo. Wind and rain have sculpted the rocks into valleys, gulleys, and rolling hillsides.

    2. Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia

    Bondi icebergs NSW

      Stormy weather meant that there were not many swimmers around at the famous Bondi Icebergs swimming club at Bondi Beach when this photo was taken.

      3. Mammatus clouds

      Mammaryclouds

        These clouds are known as mammary clouds, due to their resemblance to cows’ udders. They are rare because they form in sinking air. Most clouds are made in rising air.

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        4. Bioluminescent waves

        bioluminiscentwaves

          These waves glow at night because the water is full of phytoplankton, which is luminous and gives off a weird blue light.

          5. Light pillars over Ruka ski slopes, Finland

          lightpillars

            These pillars are formed by the reflection of ice crystals in the moonlight.

            6. Volcanic lightning, Iceland

            volcanic lightning

              A spectacular show is caused by the volcanic eruption which tosses positively charged debris into the air, which is full of negative charges. The result is lightning. It is rare to see these two phenomena present together.

              7. Fire rainbows over Albuquerque, New Mexico

              firerainbows

                This is a fairly rare phenomenon. The sun must be 58 degrees above the horizon when there are some cirrus clouds which contain ice crystals.

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                8. Aurora, Lapland

                auroras

                  These strange colorful effects occur when particles from a solar flare are released. They then penetrate the earth’s magnetic field, colliding with atoms in the atmosphere. These bursts of light and color are the result of the collisions.

                  9. Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

                  Giant'scauseway

                    About 65 million years ago, there was intense volcanic activity in this area. In the cooling process, perpendicular basalt blocks and a pavement-like structure were created.

                    10. Waterspouts

                    waterspouts

                      These are tornados that form over the water’s surface.

                      11. Hessdalen lights, Norway

                      Hessdalen lights

                        An unexplained phenomenon and loved by UFO enthusiasts! The most likely explanation is that air turns to plasma and produces these effects. There are copper-rich rocks on one side of the valley and iron-rich strata on the other side.

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                        12. Storms at Catatumbo, Venezuela

                        Catatumbo

                          It’s no surprise to learn that the storms here are so frequent that they are known as the everlasting storm. They happen on average once every two days and can last as long as 10 hours each. The lightning displays are unbelievable.

                          13. The Gateway to Hell, Darvaze, Turkmenistan

                          Gatewaytohell

                            This all happened by chance. Gas drillers had an accident in 1971 which caused a crater to open up. It then caught fire because of the released gas and it has been burning ever since. But that’s nothing compared to a similar flame which has been burning in Iraq for 4,000 years and is even mentioned in the Old Testament!

                            14. Steam vents in Hevrir, Iceland

                            steamtowers

                              The Hevrir area in Iceland is geothermally active and releases vast quantities of steam and gas, often forming towers.

                              15. Pororoca tidal wave, River Amazon

                              Pororoca

                                The longest tidal wave in the world! Fancy a bit of surfing on this tidal wave which can travel up to 500 miles along the Amazon? One Brazilian surfer actually managed to surf it for about 8 miles. It took him 37 minutes. This wave only happens every six months when the Atlantic tides reach as far as the mouth of the River Amazon.

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                                16. Starling murmurations over Gretna, Scotland

                                murmurations

                                  These huge flocks of starlings fly in beautiful and fascinating formations, usually at twilight in winter. A superb example of teamwork and co-ordination, without any GPS devices!

                                  17. Flowering desert, Atacama, Chile

                                  Floweringdesert

                                    A barren landscape regenerated by infrequent heavy rains which have transformed long dormant seeds and bulbs into a beautiful garden.

                                    18. Dragon blood trees, Socotra, Yemen

                                    Socotra

                                      These rare, umbrella-shaped dragon blood trees get their name from their dark red resin. Socotra has unique flora and fauna, a third of which are found nowhere else on the planet!

                                      19. Frozen methane bubbles, Alberta, Canada

                                      methanebubbles

                                        These methane bubbles are found in Abraham Lake. If they melt, just don’t light a match nearby.

                                        20. Asperatus clouds, Lofoten Islands, Norway

                                        Asperatus
                                          ©Ragnhild M Hansen http://www.viewbug.com/photo/11072531

                                          You might be forgiven for thinking this is a Van Gogh painting, but it is not—it’s the last of our stunning nature photos! These asperatus clouds are new guys on the block. They are so mysterious that they were only classified for the first time in 2009.

                                          Featured photo credit: Jiroj Amaralikit via ink361.com

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                                          Robert Locke

                                          Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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                                          Last Updated on November 9, 2020

                                          10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

                                          10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

                                          Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

                                          Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

                                          Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

                                          If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

                                          Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

                                          1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

                                          Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

                                          Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

                                          Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

                                          2. No Motivation

                                          Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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                                          This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

                                          If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

                                          3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

                                          Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

                                          A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

                                          A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

                                          The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

                                          4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

                                          One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

                                          We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

                                          Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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                                          You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

                                          5. Upward Comparisons

                                          Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

                                          The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

                                          These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

                                          Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

                                          6. No Alternative

                                          This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

                                          Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

                                          Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

                                          Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

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                                          7. Stress

                                          As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

                                          When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

                                          We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

                                          If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

                                          8. Sense of Failure

                                          People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

                                          Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

                                          Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

                                          If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

                                          9. The Need to Be All-New

                                          People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

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                                          These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

                                          10. Force of Habit

                                          Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

                                          Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

                                          These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

                                          Final Thoughts

                                          These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

                                          There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

                                          More on Breaking Bad Habits

                                          Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

                                          Reference

                                          [1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
                                          [2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
                                          [3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

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