Mentoring Emerging Adults with Mindfulness

by Donna Torney on October 4, 2017 · 0 comments

What is an emerging adult?  Most adult development experts agree that emerging adulthood is the life period between the late teen years and the early thirties.  Undoubtedly, some of us reach the stage of “established adulthood” much sooner.  But the current cohort of young adults- those brave souls on the frontier of the digital age – have many hurdles to jump, both social and financial, on their way to becoming established adults.

Get the book! Mindfulness for Emerging Adults:  Finding balance, belonging, focus, and meaning in the digital age for just $19.99.

Are you an emerging adult, a mentor, or both?  In some ways, we are all continuously emerging, or at least we have the potential for continuous development.  In the twentieth century, the pioneering psychologist Erik Erikson outlined stages of psychosocial development that promoted the idea of continual social and emotional growth throughout life.  In the twenty-first century, advances in neuroscience enable us to actually see physical changes in the brain brought on by changes in behavior.

What a relief it is to know that change is always possible!

Off to college?  Take mindfulness with you!

Are you the best mentor for the job?  Even if we are still in the process of refining our own adult experience, we can become mentors.  We don’t need to be perfect, we just need to be a few steps ahead of the people we are trying to help.    Mindfulness practices have certainly helped me keep perspective when I’m helping the young adults in my life, including my own offspring.  By practicing and modeling mindfulness in my own imperfect way, I can encourage emerging adults to see contemplative practices as an important life skill, especially in an age of accelerated change and 24/7 distraction.

Here are just some of the skills that mindfulness can foster in both mentor and mentee:

  • Self-efficacy – the belief in one’s competency and effectiveness  ( “I got this, even though it’s stressful”)
  • Open-mindedness – being curious about a situation as opposed to jumping to conclusions (“tell me more about why you feel this way, so I’m sure I understand.”)
  • Non-attachment – staying unattached to an outcome (“This job doesn’t define me.”)
  • Equanimity – evenness of mind, especially under pressure (“I can think before I react”)
  • Right speech – using non-hurtful language (“I can wait until I feel more even-minded before I offer my thoughts”)
  • Impermanence – fostering acceptance of change (“Friend groups and families are always changing”)
  • Compassion – Concern for the struggles of others (“I can sit with your suffering without becoming overwhelmed.”)

Mentors plant seeds – learn about planting seeds in Mindfulness for Emerging Adults.

In Mindfulness for Emerging Adults, both mentors and young adults will find tools to help gain balance, belonging, focus, and meaning through practical contemplative exercises created for busy adults.

Sitting still, meditating, even practicing gentle yoga may not be priorities for energetic young adults.  However, making and keeping social connections and feeling a sense of mastery in daily life tasks (as opposed to being overwhelmed and isolated) are indeed high priorities for emerging adults.  Through contemplative practices specifically designed for modern-day emerging adults who are often trying to find a balance between the digital world and actual reality,  Mindfulness for Emerging Adults will help young adults embark on the path of their own unique “good life” and create a holistic way of living.

Here’s an excerpt from Mindfulness for Emerging Adults

This indispensable workbook contains over forty exercises to incorporate calm into your busy life pre-order now!

Thoughts for Mentors – When you think of your own young adulthood (when you were in your late teens and twenties, even your early thirties) remember the urgency of your needs: to connect or to disengage from a relationship, to figure out what kind of work you wanted to do, or to simply figure out how to pay your bills. If you could go back in time and be your own mentor, what three seeds of wisdom would you plant? What three pieces of advice and encouragement would you give to your younger self to think about?

Mentors plant seeds. Notice the examples above focus on shared, universal emerging adult experiences like wanting to belong or wanting to be independent. Planting seeds often involves:

  • Listening and refraining from judgment
  • Being more of a compassionate consultant, and less of a savior
  • Dropping assumptions and keeping an open mind
  • Practicing equanimity – staying calm and avoiding strong reactions
  • Practicing compassion – managing your own distress in the presence of another’s distress

Planting seeds may sound like this:

“It’s okay to feel lonely sometimes. I remember feeling that way at your age. It is painful but it will pass.”

“Although loneliness can be uncomfortable, being in an unhealthy relationship can be even more uncomfortable. Be mindful of your craving for a relationship. Don’t let it take over your decision-making and put you in an unhealthy situation.”

“you could choose any career what would it be? Right now is a good time for you to try out a few different options.”

For more on mentoring emerging adults, Pre-order Mindfulness for Emerging Adults today!

 Wishing you the energy of a young spirit, the wisdom of an old soul 
…. and twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!

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Photo Via Annie Spratt

Mindfulness activities such as yoga and meditation play an important role in a variety of health settings in which stress is a problem, but can they also help work teams work together more optimally? This was the question that scientists at the University of British Columbia recently sought to establish. Their results were impressive indeed: mindfulness can not only lower stress, but also help people avoid work conflicts!

Measuring Team Mindfulness

Mindfulness helps people achieve mental calm but it also lowers levels of stress hormone, cortisol, and reduces the heart rate and blood pressure – which can put a person in an optimal state in which to work alongside others. In the above-mentioned study, researchers found that when teams were more mindful, the degree of interpersonal conflict decreased. Team members were also less likely to take out their stress or frustration with a particular task on their colleagues. The researchers stated: “Interpersonal conflict can further spill over into interpersonal social undermining behaviours, harming teamwork as a whole. Team mindfulness can act as a safeguard against this and ensures that the task, rather than the person, remains the focus of reactions. It can also limit the intensity of one’s opposition and negative emotions.”

How Can Teams Hone their Mindfulness?

In businesses in which stress is high and teams need to work together to achieve important goals, activities like group yoga or meditation can help instill an immediate sense of peace in a work setting. Research has shown that these practises can do much more than they reduce conflict. One recent study by scientists at Trinity College Dublin found that meditation and pranayamic (controlled) breathing can have important benefits for workers, since these activities strengthen the ability to focus on tasks, decrease mind wandering, invoke more positive emotions, and reduce emotional reactivity.

Breathing Releases a Natural Chemical Messenger in the Brain

Breathing – which is an important part of yoga and meditation – not only lowers levels of stress hormone cortisol, but also affects levels of a natural chemical in the brain called noradreline. This chemical is released when we are focused, excited, or curious. If present at optimal levels, it boosts new connections in the brain, improving our attention and brain health. The balance of noradreline is delicate; when there is too much, we lose the ability to focus. When there is too little, we feel sluggish. When we practice controlled breathing, however, we obtain a healthy balance that allows us to give the best of ourselves to others both at work and in our personal lives.

If you are working as part of a team and you think that you could benefit from mindfulness, why not suggest the adoption of a group-based mindfulness activity? Whether yoga, breathing, or Tai Chi appeals to you and the rest of your team, rest assured you can benefit greatly from these practises. The old masters always said that mindfulness brought important benefits to the brain and new studies are proving them right.

Contributed by Lucy Wyndham

Lucy is a freelance writer and editor who spent over a decade working as a life coach before taking a step back. She’s now removed most tech from her life and enjoys walking her dog or spending time with her family instead.

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First published at Kayleighmichael.com

If you had told teenaged Me that I would be with a man who loves cars, who cares about politics, who likes to keep his body as hairless as possible and who sometimes says things like, “Every woman needs a dishwasher” (I corrected this immediately, by the way, come on), I would say “you crazy.” But, here we are. I’ve been meaning to get on paper some musings about what is to be male, female, and both or neither, and as it’s all the rage to talk about gender in open forum, I feel obligated to do so here. From reading Emily Nagoski’s, Come As You Are, a volume on female sexuality which relies heavily on science and squashes the societal implications of sex for women, I think I finally have the jumping off point I need.

It is not, no matter what they tell you, “easier” or “simpler” to be male than it is to be female.
Gasp, but, Kay Kay, how? Women have periods and have babies and have all these pressures! Well, I do plan on examining some of the psychic implications of menstruation, as they’ve manifested in my life in another soon-to-come post, so stay quite tuned. However, I will briefly argue that when one’s life,hormones, emotions, fall into a cycle and one is predictive and healthy about that cycle, it makes life easier. You know when your body image plummets, and Rice Crispie Treat commercials make you sob, and every joke is insulting, that maybe it’s time to ready the diva cup and take a walk and buy some chocolate. You are in rhythm with the moon and the tides and the seasons, as you have been since puberty. It’s not new, and it’s still you. This is in many ways easier, I think, than the absence of this.

Dr. Nagoski explains, in the very start of her book, how fetuses develop to become, most of the time, male or female. It’s complete with diagrams, people. One fascinating thing I must have missed in Health class is this: we start off exactly the same, and then–she uses fraternal twins as an example–there is a “hormone wash” in utero; the female is unaffected and keeps developing as if nothing happened. The boy begins to turn into a boy, that is, the would-be vagina begins to close, seal, and stretch and the testes begin to form, as they do, on the outside. I thought this was like a Holy Grail of scientific information, and I can’t believe I didn’t learn it til thirty.

My nephew, James, was born with eyelashes forever and huge hands. The family all said these were “Quarterback hands.” But, I said this: “Or maybe he’ll be a pianist.” It’s just too easy, I think, to raise boys to be butch, and girls to be pretty. So I try to provide options. Though, my niece looks just like me, blue eyes and all, so it’s hard even for me to deflect the urge to tell her she’s beautiful. But it’s early, yet. I’ll find other things to compliment her on, I’m sure. For now it’s: “Wow, nice growl.” Or “That’s some good eating you’re doing.”

She goes on to use some math (think in bell curves) about sexual preferences–from standard mojo to total kinks–and another golden nugget of info shined in the light: there are more differences among these in all men and among all women than there are between the two genders. Needless to say, I had a flashback to every girl-talk I was ever a part of. Most of my girlfriends are markedly freakier than I am, and some still are perhaps too vanilla to “even.” And when I first met my partner I thought we had relatively equal sex drives, but as time went on, it came to be that mine was higher, and he said, “It should be the other way around.” Well, to that, I say “Nah.” And, “Show me your sources.”

And now I’m thirty years old and a half, so obviously everyone I know is getting married, buying houses, having babies. My brother and his friend group are the squad from which I hear the most about the baby-raising life. He has one boy and one girl, and pretty much everyone else has girls. The birthday parties are electric with pink dresses and dolls and high-pitched squeals. I observe and take note, writer-style, of how each baby is spoken to, taught to share, negotiated with, etc. And for the most part, it’s relatively equal. That is, when boys are that young, we are still very gentle with them.

My nephew, James, was born with eyelashes forever and huge hands. The family all said these were “Quarterback hands.” But, I said this: “Or maybe he’ll be a pianist.” It’s just too easy, I think, to raise boys to be butch, and girls to be pretty. So I try to provide options. Though, my niece looks just like me, blue eyes and all, so it’s hard even for me to deflect the urge to tell her she’s beautiful. But it’s early, yet. I’ll find other things to compliment her on, I’m sure. For now it’s: “Wow, nice growl.” Or “That’s some good eating you’re doing.”

Anyway, as I may have mentioned before on this platform, I took a class in grad school, called “Growing up Male in America” and it really changed my perceptions on boys for the better. Our professor was the assistant coach for the football team, so needless to say, the room was filled with some Testosteroney breath and thick necks. But as the class rolled on, he asked them about the last time they cried, and made them massage each other, and I loved every second of it. Again, we as women are “allowed” these feelings and affections quite freely, all the time. Even if sometimes we get asked, “Is this just your PMS?” or called over-sensitive, I will take that shit any day. In the emotional realm, our lives are made easier by society.

And so, with this smattering of images I do invite you to be a little more neutral with the boys in your life, and offer them opportunities to express emotion. No more White Knights, no more, “Protect me.” Much more “Help me with the dishes, and tell me about your incompetent boss a little more.” They need outlets, releases, too. Boys are no easier to raise, sleep with, relate with, emotionally predict, or talk to. I know this from countless conversations I have had with a deep voice somewhere in the dark. We are all human, all/mostly normal and complex and all could use some critical questioning of the “truths” we were raised to believe about sex and gender.

 

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A Career Guide for Your Soul

by Donna Torney on July 31, 2018 · 0 comments

th-1If you’re looking for a career guide for your soul, add Stephen Cope’s The Great Work of Your Life to your summer reading list.  Cope, the author of Yoga and the Quest for True Self, has distinguished himself once again with his skill of applying Eastern philosophy to the problems of modern life.  But make no mistake, this is not a book that simply presents lofty ideas. Readers will come away with practical steps for finetuning an established career or starting a new one.

The Great Work of Your Life is a guide for following your heart at work.  Through stories of historical luminaries and everyday people, you will gain insight into finding your true calling, committing yourself wholeheartedly in a way that will bring more satisfaction to your work life while making a lasting contribution.  In a time where “side-gigs” are the norm, and a living wage seems ever harder to obtain, this book can help you redefine your working life in unexpected ways.

Check out Stephen Cope’s new course, Your True Calling, now available through Sounds True media

We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!

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Nature in the Digital Age

by mindfulhub on July 28, 2018 · 0 comments

In one of my earliest memories, I am in the White Mountains in New Hampshire. I have wandered away from my family’s campsite at Dolly Copp Campground.  I am five or maybe seven years of age. Some of the details are fuzzy and probably lost forever. I think I am in a clearing in the woods, or it might have been near a riverbed or an overgrown pasture.   What I do remember vividly is seeing a patch of moss, brilliantly green, in the way only early season moss can be. I remember standing on the glowing green moss in my bare feet.  Was the sun rising or setting?  Whatever the case, I can remember with clarity the quality of the light, the thick, soft moss squishing through my toes, the smell of damp earth, and the quiet of the woods. And I remember feeling content, safe, and connected.  Yogis would call this a moment of ‘direct experience.’  I wasn’t thinking about taking a selfie (it was circa 1970, after all).  There was no mental noise but for what my senses were taking in.

I was experiencing nature with no filter.

Moments of direct experience are inherently imbued with peace, clarity, and a strong sense of well-being because they give us a break from past/future thinking – from remembering and planning. Nature, one of the best ways for us to enter into direct experience, rarely fails to re-set and sooth a harried nervous system. It’s the perfect complement to the digital age.

 

Direct experience requires that we be in tune with our senses. When I am not in a moment of direct experience there is usually a personal podcast playing in the mind. I call it “The Dread Report.” Thoughts like these dominate: “when was the last time my son ate vegetables? …. How am I going to pay that dental bill?…. What if my brother relapses….?” As a therapist, I know that our brains our wired to scan the environment for danger so I know my personal podcast is a universal experience – even more so in the Twenty-first Century when we rarely give our brains time to power down. This alert mind, after all, is how we make it through the day without walking in front of a car. The problem is, our ancient nervous systems can’t keep up with the accelerated pace of change and the demands of life in the Twenty-first Century. Because of the bombardment of information coming at us, we can get caught up in a loop of chronic stress, in which we feel like there is always a freight train coming at us unless we remember that we too are part of nature.

Remember that you are part of nature

The digital age has many benefits. There’s no way I could write as clearly on my laptop as I could on the electric typewriter I had in high school. And working remotely has actually allowed me to spend more time in our home in the White Mountains. But we sometimes forget that we are not flesh-colored computers.

We still need seven to eight hours of sleep on a regular basis even though we could stay up all night binging on Netflix. We still need in-person social connection and community to have a sense of safety even if we can spend all our time texting.

We still need fruits and vegetables in a somewhat natural state to get the micronutrients we need for our brains to work well, and we still need to feel the sun on faces every once in a while. Without tending to these human needs – the human nervous system, the thing we all have in common – we will not be able to relax and enjoy our day-to-day existence.

The Nature Prescription

This is not a call to wearing flower crowns and walking barefoot – although if that’s how you do nature – go for it! This is a call to remember that we are nature. Now there is a body of evidence to prove that being in nature is a healthy prescription for body, mind, and soul. In a time when many of us can’t afford health insurance, time in nature can be free preventative medicine. In his book, Go Wild, Harvard Professor John Ratey, sites studies that show that time in nature boosts our immune response and decreases levels of cortisol, the stress hormone responsible for triggering so many common ailments. Movement, as simple as a gentle walk where our arms naturally swing back and forth, re-wires and rebuilds the brain. Scientists have been able to measure an increase in grey matter in senior citizens who exercise. Children who have more recess time experience fewer symptom of attention-deficit. In her book, The Nature Fix, Florence Williams tells the story of an experiment where participants are asked to do one of three tasks: Walk for thirty minutes without a cell phone or walk while talking on a cell phone. The third group was a control group. The group without the cellphone scored on average 80 percent on a post-walk memory test, cellphone walkers and the control group scored on average 30 percent on the same memory task.

More than just movement – Building a sense of place

Of course, we can move by going to a gym, getting on a treadmill, and plugging in the earbuds. But this kind of activity is not about connecting. It actually encourages us to disconnect. It might feel good and help you meet your Fit Bit goals, and going to the gym is better than being sedentary, but moving in nature does so much more for the modern mind and body.

Even though we can be “connected” twenty-four seven, we feel more lonely and disconnected than ever. Adults, young and old, feel isolated from meaningful engagement, overwhelmed by their daily to-do list, and separated from community.

In my counseling practice, I sometimes ask a simple question: “What happens when you stop?” Does isolation well up? Do you feel like a caged animal? Can you put your phone down? If you are in a time where you are experiencing a “friend gap,” whether you are a recent college grad or a recent retiree, walking on a wooded trail can help ease a sense of isolation. Connecting with your natural surroundings is the next-best thing to connecting with people. In nature, we are apt to come up with the answers and solve problems.

Keep it playful

So now we have a body of evidence showing that being in nature can help us live smarter, calmer lives. But don’t make being in nature another item on your to-do list. Remember to keep it light. We Twenty-first Century humans tend to want to do everything one-hundred-and-ten percent. Entering into the field of direct experience should not be a heavy and serious process. In fact, it’s easier to ignore the distracting dread podcast when we allow ourselves to be curious and playful. If you are part of the outdoor community of the Northeast you probably know the stories of people overdosing on the nature prescription, and taking dangerous risks on the trail.

Here is my challenge to you: Can you plan a hike and only go half-way? Can the experience be more about connecting with yourself, or a group of friends, and less about reaching a goal? Can you use your time in nature to digest your life experiences as opposed to making it another task? I don’t remember all the details of my time on the patch of moss at Dolly Copp Campground, but I clearly remember, even at five or seven years old, that I felt at ease, safe, and free.

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Let’s just get this over with

by Donna Torney on July 26, 2018 · 1 comment

images“Let’s just get this over with.”  This may be an appropriate sentiment when you are having a root canal, but did you ever notice this mindset seeping into daily life?  The self-talk may sound something like this:

“I can’t wait until it’s Friday!”

“Will this winter ever end?”

These thoughts are understandable, but have you found this ‘way of being’ slipping into more neutral and even pleasant events?

Nervous about an upcoming special event?  Use this worksheet to help challenge your anxious thoughts.

Here are some examples:

“Once I get past my son’s graduation I can relax”

“How long is my granddaughter’s recital?”

“What day do we get back from vacation?”

If you often find yourself wishing for the next thing, it might be time to apply some mindfulness.

Here are some counter-thoughts to help you enjoy the present moment:

“I’m looking forward to the weekend, but it will come even faster if I put my total focus on this project.”

“This hot, heavy air feels good and it will help me really savor the cold weather.”

“My to-do list will wait, I’m going to settle in and enjoy this recital.”

“Why am I so nervous about the graduation?  How can I prepare myself to relax and enjoy this event?”

Wishing for events to pass is a bad habit that takes away joy.  Mindfully looking at the feelings and thoughts below the surface can help you have more joy at special events and everyday life.

What do you think about this post?

Nervous about an upcoming special event?  Use this worksheet to help challenge your anxious thoughts.

We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!

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Well-being, right now

by Donna Torney on October 8, 2017 · 0 comments

Just for now – want nothing

Don’t wish to be someplace else

Be where you are

Don’t wish for more energy, or less

Watch your breath rise and fall and watch your energy

settle to where it needs to be

Stop planning and remembering

let thought disperse

Like autumn leaves falling

Until all that is left is the calm, clear seeing

of your branch-like mind

Yearn for nothing, no one

Pain or pleasure

Peace or war

Take a break from feeling incomplete

Let the calmness in your mind grow

Plant the seeds of contentment and joy

Don’t look for revenge or seek forgiveness

Just for now

Offer compassion to yourself

Just for now, want nothing

and through this practice

Ease will come

Insight will come

Compassion will grow

We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!

Click here to access our free worksheet to that will help you grow your mindfulness practice.

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In the digital economy, managing living expenses is a real challenge for emerging adults

Voices of Emerging Adults – Isabel’s Set-back:

“I have got to find a way to get out of here! This is not where I pictured myself at age twenty-two. I know I’m not the only person in my friend group to have to move back home to save up some cash but I feel like I’m in purgatory. I thought I was going to be able to make it work, living with two friends from high school and holding down two jobs this summer. It was really fun, actually, but Jess went back to school and Laura and I couldn’t swing the rent. It’s so hard living at home after having been out on my own. I have zero privacy and my parents are scrutinizing my every move. Every day we have less patience with each other. Today my father actually put a schedule up telling me when I’m allowed to use the washer and dryer. It’s like a police state. I tried to tell him how hard it was to lose my independence. He half-jokingly said, “It’s hard for me, too.” I used to like my dad’s sense of humor, but that comment really stung.”

Get the book! Mindfulness for Emerging Adults:  Finding balance, belonging, focus, and meaning in the digital age for just $19.99.

“I really needed to Skype my college roommate for a while after that episode with dad. I had two good semesters at college, but I just got so overwhelmed with the tuition bills and I started second-guessing my major. So I took a leave of absence and took the two jobs. Since that didn’t work out, I’m having trouble staying positive. I know I should be doing more than applying for jobs online, but I just can’t get myself to actually go and talk to people.”

“It was my college roommate who talked me into counseling. The stress of keeping her grades up to keep her scholarship was really weighing her down last year. She said talking to a college counselor was really helpful.”

“When I first met with my counselor, I was doing a great acting job by being super-agreeable. It just seemed like another sign of my failure, sitting in that office, so I kind of wanted to keep my misery to myself. But after the third session, I could tell she wasn’t reacting to me the way my parents would if I told them how worried and lost I feel right now. She told me that setbacks are a normal part of young-adulthood. She didn’t freak out when I told her I slept until noon yesterday. I liked the
way she was trying to get me to see asking for help as a strength instead of weakness.”

“I guess I’ll keep going for a while. Still, I’m really having a hard time believing that things will get better. My energy just keeps dwindling. I wonder what the counselor would say if I told her how isolated I really feel? I was always kind of the quiet one in my group of friends in high school. I thought I was growing out of it. Now I can’t even seem to bring myself to go for a run without feeling self-conscious. I know I feel better when I get outside, but I really just want to curl up in my bed, or numb out on Netflix. I know it’s not getting me anywhere to binge watch tv but at least it’s an inexpensive break from the stress.”

What we can’t get from technology – why emerging adults need contemplative practices now

Technology is wonderful! I am after all writing this book on my laptop, on a program that helps me catch typos and make my points as clearly as possible. However, the pervasiveness of technology can trick us into thinking that we are physically evolving just as rapidly as our digital gadgets. We are much more than walking, talking, processing systems. Our physiology is the same as our grandparents and our great-great-grandparents. The human nervous system we all possess needs to be cared for and tended to with

Get the book! Mindfulness for Emerging Adults:  Finding balance, belonging, focus, and meaning in the digital age for just $19.99.

great-great-grandparents. The human nervous system we all possess needs to be cared for and tended to with connection to community and the natural world. Imagine you have zero connection to other humans and zero connection to nature. Lonely and terrifying, isn’t it? You will start to understand the important role these connections play in our overall well-being. Direct experience (present-moment experience that employs use of the senses) as opposed to narrative experience (where we are planning or remembering) is the perfect complement to our tech- focused world. Direct experience is a main theme and mindfulness skill in the Center Points model…..

To continue with Isabel’s story, order Mindfulness for Emerging Adults:  Finding balance, belonging, focus, and meaning in the digital age for just $19.99.

We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!

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Rewild Yourself

by Donna Torney on July 17, 2017 · 0 comments

This spring I read two books that have motivated me to increase my time in nature.  Not that I needed any more motivation, having just finished a five-year stint in private practice just outside of Boston.  This was a great personal and professional experience in many ways, but an hour-long commute into the city coupled with busy days sitting and conducting talk therapy left me feeling achy in my body and soul.

And so I’m spending the next chunk of my life closer to nature in my native state of New Hampshire.  I’m not sure what daily life will be like, but I’m certain that it will include more time outside.  

I love technology and the opportunities it creates, but I am feeling an almost animal-like urge to run in the woods, walk barefoot, and splash in waterfalls.  Maybe you feel the same way?  After all, we humans are a part of the natural world.

Florence William’s book, The Nature Fix, and Go Wild, written by John J. Ratey, MD, and Richard Manning remind us of our connection to the natural world, and the many rewards – both physical and mental – of spending time in nature.

And the good news is we don’t have to sign up for a triathlon or hike a major mountain range to reap these rewards.  All we need is the direct experience of being outside.   This time doesn’t have to be goal-directed, but mindfulness will help us absorb the gifts of nature.

Here’s a handful of facts from The Nature Fix, and Go Wild to help motivate you to explore your animal nature:

~ Biophilia –  Simply put, the term Biophilia refers to the human affinity for nature.  We feel best in natural surroundings because we evolved in nature. Living things thrive around living things. When we are outside, we are making full use of our five senses.  The dull veil of indoor light is lifted, and the world becomes 3D once more.

~ When we breathe in fresh air and natural scents our nervous system is soothed.  Speaking of senses, are you losing yours?  Studies show that we are only using a fraction of the potential of our sense of smell compared to our hunter/gatherer ancestors. Certain scents in nature have been shown to reduce blood pressure and cortisol levels and that living in urban settings can decrease our sense of smell.

~  trauma symptoms.  Time in nature has been shown to reduce trauma symptoms.

~ Treadmill versus the trail.   Running or walking outside engages much more neurological activity than running or walking on a treadmill. In fact, modern gyms are designed to help you tune out of your body by distracting you with loud music and plenty of screens.  Gyms are a great resource in bad weather, but as much as possible, take your workout outside.

I’d like to place a bet – or maybe it’s a wish.  Now that many of us can work almost anywhere, we will start to migrate back to more rural areas, small town main streets will come back to life, and with it a greater sense of community and belonging.

~ Outdoor play.  Trying a new game outside helps you increase the positive emotions of humor and curiosity.  These two emotions open and expand creativity and possibilities.

~ Up your Awe quotient.  Taking in a natural scene is inspirational, and helps broaden our perspective and take life less seriously.

~ Nature boosts our immune system.  One study in Japan showed a 40% decrease in sick leave simply by placing potted plants in a workspace.

~ Other benefits include increased community, empathy and help with changing addictive behavior.

Don’t forget – we are nature.  I urge to you check out the new research on nature, but more importantly, I urge to get outside, maybe without your shoes, and remember your wild self.  Now more than ever, we need to stay mindful of the fact that we are part of the natural world.

The World Health Organization tells us that as of 2008, a greater percentage of our species live in urban areas.  I’d like to place a bet – or maybe it’s a wish.  Now that many of us can work almost anywhere, we will start to migrate back to more rural areas, small town main streets will come back to life, and with it a greater sense of community and belonging.  It’s what our wild ancestors had.  I can dream, can’t I?

Share my dream?  How do you stay mindful of your natural self?  Contact us at mindful hub.

We wish you 20 minutes of mindfulness every day!

Check out these upcoming course offerings from Sounds True

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For the all the gritty scrappers ….

by Donna Torney on July 17, 2017 · 0 comments

Are you a gritty scrapper or do you love someone who is?  The title of this Ted talk is misleading – while the presenter does address resume writing, it’s much more of an ode to post-traumatic growth.  It’s worth the ten minutes, and you will get your daily dose of inspiration.  Rock on scrappers!

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Running Towards Yourself – Mindful Exercise

July 17, 2017 Get Help

Because of my busy schedule, I often feel I need to make a choice between getting some physical exercise and formal meditation practice.  But the truth is you can do both at the same time. A walk, run, or spin on an exercise bike can be another item to check off your  to-do list, or […]

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