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World’s Most Mysterious And Mesmerizing Forests That Will Leave You Breathless

World’s Most Mysterious And Mesmerizing Forests That Will Leave You Breathless

Forest tourism has been a popular activity for decades, as people seek out beautiful and unique landscapes across the globe. Whether its for a world-class hike or to take breathtaking photographs, we are drawn to these thickets of towering trees and diverse wildlife. The peaceful quiet and the absence of most of civilization’s marks allows us moments in time we never forget. Below are some of the world’s most stunning, unforgettable forests. Where would you go first?

Crooked Forest, Poland

    image source: Lisa Beach650 via Flickr

    The Crooked Forest is exactly what it sounds like: a small forest of bent pine trees, located in western Poland. The trees were planted around 1930, when Germany controlled Poland, and grew with their bent shapes at roughly 90 degree angles. Some guess it was a deliberate modification by humans, though no one can say how or why this would be done. The trees grew normally for 7-10 years before whatever method or event caused them to start growing crookedly.

    Aokigahara (Sea of Trees), Japan

      image source: keio via Flickr

      The Sea of Trees or Aokigahara forest resides northwest of Mount Fuji in Japan. It is a dark, dense forest with hidden caves and a curious absence of most wildlife. You might recognize Aokigahara for its grisly reputation as “the Suicide Forest”. In 1998, 73 dead bodies were found in the forest, with many of them appearing to be suicides. In 2002, 78; in 2004, 108; and in 2010, 54. The forest’s fame has become such a concern that watchmen have been hired to do sweeps of the forest in an attempt to prevent further suicides.

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      The Red Forest, Ukraine

        image source: Matt Shalvatis via Flickr

        The Red Forest, originally the Worm Wood Forest, is located within the 10 kilometer (6.2 mile) area affected the Chernobyl nuclear incident in 1986 in Ukraine. As a result of the radiation, the forest turned a ginger-brown color, earning its current name. Most of the forest was bulldozed and buried under carpet in order to partially replant the area. Bits of civilization from abandoned towns are still there, like the old bumper car pictured above.

        Luntai Huyang Poplar Forest, China

          image source: china.notspecial.org

          Luntai Huyang Forest is the largest, densest, and best preserved population of diversiform-leaved poplars in the world. The name of this tree means “the most beautiful tree” in the Uygur language, one of China’s many ethnic minorities. It has a remarkable ability to withstand drought, sand, and harsh winds, ironic considering the forest’s proximity to expanses of desert.

          Redwood National and State Parks, California

            image source: Justin Kern via Flickr

            The Redwood National and State Parks in California consist of Redwood National Park, the Del Norte Coast, Jedediah Smith State Park, and Prairie Creek State Park. Redwood trees are one of the tallest tree species on Earth, able to reach up to 397 feet (115.5 m) high. A number of threatened animal species reside in the parks. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve.

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            Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda

              image source: flöschen via Flickr

              This park is part of the larger Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and is one of the most diverse ecosystems in East Africa. It contains a wide range of both plant and animal species, including a notable population of mountain gorillas. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.

              Olympic National Park, Washington

                image source: James Gaither via Flickr

                Located on the Olympic peninsula of Washington State, the Olympic National Park was preserved by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1938, and has since been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Hoh and the Quileute tribes reside here. The park contains a diverse range of features, including old-growth, glacial mountains, and temperate rain forest.

                Black Forest, Germany

                  image source: Roland via Panoramio

                  This thickly-wooded forest includes moutains, rivers, and Mummelsee lake. There are also a couple museums, such as the Black Forest Open Air Museum which features reconstructions of the 16th-17th century life of the local population at that time. This is reportedly the setting of many of the Grimm brother’s fairytales as well, giving it an extra whimsical appeal.

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                  Maolan National Nature Reserve, China

                    image source: China Tour Advisors

                    The Maolan National Nature Reserve is a rare forest due to its Central Asian tropical karst features, which offers an exciting ecosystem much-valued by the scientific community. Karst topography is a rare landscape, and most areas with this feature are barren, making Maolan a true treasure for scientific research. The area has plenty of lush vegetation, mineral-rich rocks and soil, and underground caves.

                    Devil’s Tramping Ground, NC, USA

                      image source: Jason Horne via Flickr

                      Not so much the forest itself as a specific area of it, Devil’s Tramping Ground is the name given to a spot in a North Carolina forest that is swathed in legend. The area, as pictured above, is a circular patch of land which is mostly devoid of plant life. Local lore holds that this is a spot where the devil stomps around in a circle, plotting the destruction of mankind. Scientists from North Carolina’s DOA took soil samples from the spot and tested them, finding the soil to be too sterile and acidic to support plant life, but many still believe the myth.

                      Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Costa Rica

                        image source: Clifton Beard via Flickr

                        This large reserve in Costa Rica stretches over 10,500 hectares (26,000 acres) and contains a highly diverse ecosystem with 2,500 plant species, 100 species of mammals, 400 bird species, 120 reptilian and amphibian species, and thousands of insects species. “Cloud forest” refers to a category of tropical or subtropical forest which has consistent or frequent low-level cloud coverage.

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                        Sagano Bamboo Forest, Japan

                          image source: Casey Yee via Flickr

                          Forests aren’t only for trees. This stunning bamboo forest in the Arashiyama district of Japan contains more than a dozen varieties of bamboo, growing to enormous heights and blanketing the area. Some of the plants are up to 100 feet tall!

                          Yellowwood State Forest, IN, USA

                            image source: Elizabeth Nicodemus via Flickr

                            The Yellowwood State Forest gets its name from the yellowwood tree..Besides its beautiful landscape, the forest is known for one other thing: the presence of large boulders in the branches of three individual trees. Each boulder has an estimated weight of 400 lbs. (180 kg) and is wedged at the base of each tree’s branches. Nobody knows how or why these boulders got there, and theories range from tornadoes or floods to UFOs.

                            Ancient Wuda Forest, China

                              image source: Gizmodo

                              The Wuda Forest in northern China was buried under thick volcanic ash from a volcanic eruption 298 million years ago, preserving the forest but hiding it completely. In 2012, scientists finished reconstructing the ancient forest, which stretches 20 sq. kilometers (12.4 miles). Many of the trees were knocked down in the volcanic blast, of course, but the forest was considered an amazing site as a number of long-extinct plant species were unearthed and identified.

                              Ardennes

                                image source: Luxembourg belge via Flickr

                                The Ardennes forest was the site of several of Europe’s most famous battles in the last century: the Battle of the Ardennes in 1914, the Battle of France in 1940, and the Battle of the Bulge in 1944. It is a densely forested and often foggy area. The fog can be so great that in the Battle of the Ardennes, French and German troops bumped into each other due to the fog. Besides its historical significance, Ardennes is also rich in minerals and wildlife.

                                Featured photo credit: Olympic National Park, Washington/Michael Hanson via photography.nationalgeographic.com

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                                Last Updated on January 15, 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, go to my website (find my website here in my profile) and take the 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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