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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 September 20, 2018

    How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

    How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

    Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

    If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

    1. Breathe

    The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

    • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
    • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
    • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

    Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

    2. Loosen up

    After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

    Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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    3. Chew slowly

    Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

    Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

    Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

    4. Let go

    Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

    The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

    It’s not. Promise.

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    Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

    Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

    21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

    5. Enjoy the journey

    Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

    Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

    6. Look at the big picture

    The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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    Will this matter to me…

    • Next week?
    • Next month?
    • Next year?
    • In 10 years?

    Hint: No, it won’t.

    I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

    Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

    7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

    You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

    Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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    8. Practice patience every day

    Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

    • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
    • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
    • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

    Final thoughts

    Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

    Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

    Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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