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Bring Nature Inside to Improve Performance

Bring Nature Inside to Improve Performance

    This week I went conference room shopping with a fellow speaker, Shirley T. Burke. Fortunately Shirley T. “gets” feng shui and understood that I would have some very specific requirements for the meeting room in which we’ll present our seminar, “Back on Track: Get More of What You Really Want From Life.” I speak best in spaces that feel good. And, I want the space to have a life-affirming energy that will complement our life-affirming message.

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    The first room was the right size and shape and was nicely appointed, but what really made it stand out from all the other meeting rooms we visited was it had windows with a view of green trees and shrubs. By comparison all the other spaces we saw seemed like lifeless boxes. Today’s experience reminded me of a similar experience I had several years ago. I attended an annual conference of the National Association of Professional Organizers in Reno, Nevada. It seemed like an odd location to have the annual conference of a group of left-brained, highly organized people, but I was willing to see what Reno had to offer us.

    As I moved through the hotel lobby I found myself repelled by the glitz of the decor. When I ventured into the casino I felt disoriented by the cave-like space with the mirrored ceiling, busy carpet pattern, and noise of the machines. I was told that casinos are deliberately designed to encourage people to gamble. They are intentionally designed to be disorienting. What a strange place! I was most struck by the lack of connection between people. All around people were sitting alone at machines or focused on games at tables. It all seemed incredibly sad to me. I couldn’t wait to get out of the casino each time I had to walk through that space.

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    What a contrast it was to go upstairs to the conference rooms! Gone was the noise and glitz. It seemed like any other conference center – pretty lifeless. We spent time in windowless rooms and ballrooms divided by partitions. Although those rooms were clean and functional, they lacked natural light, color and positive energy.

    After experiencing the casino and meeting rooms, two different types of impersonal and uncomfortable environments, both with no windows, both with no plants, it was such a relief to emerge into the lobby that offered beautiful views of the mountains in the distance through large picture windows. I stood at those windows and drank in the view. I felt like my soul was being nourished by the view. Never before had I been so struck by how depleting the man-made environment can be when it is devoid of elements of nature.

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    People can create all kinds of environments. Without having a consciousness awareness about how you are affected by those environments, you can spend enormous amounts of time in spaces that are not life-affirming. For most of us it’s not a casino, but our home or office. Spaces lacking views of nature or objects of nature are uncomfortable and will affect performance and productivity.

    The natural habitat of a human being is the out of doors. Therefore, when you bring the outdoors inside, in the form of plants, rocks, shells and water; you feel more comfortable. When you feel more comfortable, you perform better.

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    If you don’t have windows that give you a view of nature, one quick way to improve the energy of those spaces is to bring the outdoors inside by adding elements of nature. Add a print of a beautiful landscape. Add plants and water features like fountains and aquariums. I was in a windowless bathroom recently that came alive with shell prints, real shells and a silk plant. Nature feeds our souls in ways that man-made environments cannot.

    To bring the outdoors inside add:

    • Live or silk plants
    • Art with scenes of nature
    • Water fountains
    • Rocks
    • Shells
    • Driftwood
    • Fabrics with plant patterns
    • Blue and green colors
    • Fresh flowers

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    Last Updated on May 22, 2019

    10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

    10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

    There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

    One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

    In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

    Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

    1. Cat Camel Stretch

    Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

    Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

    Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

    Here’s a video to guide you through:

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    2. Go for a Walk or a Run

    This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

    Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

    The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

    Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

    Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

    3. Jumping Jacks

    Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

    Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

    4. Abductor Side Lifts

    Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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    Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

    5. Balancing Table Pose

    This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

    Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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      6. Leg Squats

      Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

      Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

      The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

      7. Push Ups

      You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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      An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

      Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

      This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

      8. Bicycle Crunches

      There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

      Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

      9. Lunges

      Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

      Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

      This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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      10. Bicep Curls

      You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

      Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

      Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

      Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

      Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

      These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

      You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

      Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

      More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

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