What if we told you there is a completely FREE, EASY, and FUN way to reduce:
And at the same time you can actually improve your:
ability to focus
You'd say, "Gee, Create The Good Life, that sounds too good to be true. But since we trust you, please tell us about this miraculous new product."
Then we'd say, "It's not new nor a product; it's as old as the hills. In fact, it is the hills, and the mountains, the lakes, the forests: it's Nature!"
Sounding just a tad disappointed you would say, "Nature? Like where all the bugs and slimy things live? Really? But it's so comfy inside. I have a great WiFi connection, access to all my favorite drinks and foods, and a really, really nice couch."
Replying with our tough love voice—just a bit—we would say, "Yes, we hear you, but all that indoor comfort and ease is actually diminishing your quality of life. We all need to spend time outdoors and in nature if we want to thrive."
Today Americans spend over 90 percent of their time indoors. By contrast, most of us over age 50 can remember passing the majority of our summer days outside. Our loving mothers would kick us out the door after breakfast with the expectation that we would return (briefly) for lunch, and (much later) for dinner. But with each new generation, we are increasingly becoming a species of indoor-bound moles at a significant cost to our mental and physical health.
To begin with, indoor air quality stinks, at least figuratively. The concentration of some pollutants is 2 to 5 times higher than outdoors. We have created a toxic soup in our homes and workplaces with all our new-fangled materials. Then there is what we do inside, which is sit, and more importantly, what we don't do, which is move. Staring at screens doesn't help the situation either, indoors or outdoors. Truth be told, if you are staring at your screen outdoors you might as well be indoors.
Here's the kicker. It doesn't take a lot of time to experience the benefits of stepping outside. With as little as 5 minutes a day people report improvements. Now imagine the gains to be made from an hour, a day, a weekend, even a week in the great outdoors. Last year after just three days of camping, we found that our hearing, eyesight, and ability to taste were noticeably more vibrant.
So, as you make a promise to take in more of the sweet nectar of outdoor air and marvel at the beauty of the landscape this month, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Unplug completely—We're serious. Turn it off, or better yet, don't take it with you. Your fellow nature lovers will thank you, as will your friends and family who need a break too. Most importantly, your soul will exult as you offer yourself one of the greatest gifts of the age, a bit of uninterrupted peace and quiet.
Indulge your senses—Take off your shoes and feel the grass/sand/soil/rock beneath your feet. Touch the cool, the damp, the slippery, the prickly, the soft, and the grainy. Let your nose savor the various aromas to be found al fresco. There's a multisensory, 3-D reality out there instantly available for your enjoyment at any moment of the day or night. Talk about access and a great connection!
The more the better—How often do you hear that?! Generally, the more time we spend outside, the better we feel physically and mentally. So go ahead, indulge yourself in the out-of-doors until your cup runneth over and your heart rate is purring.
Make a list of all the natural spaces close to your home and work. Now make a list of the great outdoor places you love regardless of where they are.
Over the next week commit to stepping outside for at least one hour a day (you deserve more than a measly 5 minutes). Extra credit if you can be in nature too. Notice how you feel with this regular dose of sensory indulgence.
Next, plan to go to one of you favorite outdoor spots sometime during the month. Remember: if you schedule it, it will happen.
Wishing you lots of wild open spaces and sand between your toes this summer.
Beth and Eric
This monthly slow essay is from Beth Meredith & Eric Storm of Create The Good Life.
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