“I have found meaning, in a world that sometimes seems meaningless to so many people.” Greta Thunberg, Swedish 16 year old activist
What can we do to have more meaning in our lives? What can we do to have a happier and healthier world? As I write this many places in the world are in crisis. It is flooding in Japan, a hurricane is bearing down on the United States and Bahamas. The Amazon, Alaska, and Canada are burning up, and Hong Kong is in political chaos, and many others are starving and face daily violence. This is all serious stuff, and even worse we are so lacking leaders with vision, with positive thoughts for the future. We need leaders that really care for our Earth and all the people that live here. It is stressful. We can all lighten our stress on the world by being aware of our actions and the impact we make.
Yes, many are under stress as is our Earth. I think the best thing you can do for your mental health is to be outside and find beauty in each day. Go for a walk, a bike ride or just sit on a bench. Search for quiet and beauty. Get out of your car, and unplug those phones! Everyday do something good for yourself, but also for the world, and for others. Our actions matter. Set some healthy goals for yourself and get outside for a walk as much as you can, take your nature-pill
The Actions for Happiness group has a calendar with good ideas, take care of yourself, and find better meaning in life. See below. Good luck!
May is a magnificent month. I have been able to spend the first days of May outside gardening, biking, hiking and just looking for the new beginnings of spring. Birds are flying around my yard with nesting materials in their beaks, and I see new migrating birds everyday. The spring ephemerals(wild flowers): Dutchman’s breeches, spring beauty, bellwort, and blood root cover the forest floor with their magnificent plants.
May is Mental Health Month, and I promise you if you spend 20 minutes a few days a week connecting with nature and May beauty you will be much happier! Get outside daily to see the daily changes and beauty of nature. Look around pay attention and get connected to the outdoor world! I watch for butterflies, birds and new sprouting plants everyday.
The Actions for Happiness Calendar has ways to make your beautiful May Meaningful. See below.
The power of trees is enormous. They add beauty and quiet to our lives. Trees work to keep our air and water clean, and they keep us healthy and happy. Be mindful of the trees in your life! Trees create that sense of belonging and community, see the video below.
“Whether you plant trees around your home and property, in your community, or in our national forests, they help fight climate change. Through the natural process of photosynthesis, trees absorb CO2 and other pollutant particulates, then store the carbon and emit pure oxygen. Planting trees helps fight climate change.” Arborday.org
Have you been outside today? Have you found beauty or something new in nature? If you haven’t spent some time outside today, do it now! This is the perfect time of the year to get outside, walk and experience nature. Relaxing time outside is a nature-pill.
It is my fear we have become such enormous TV watchers and phone addicts that we forget to get out of our houses and cars to enjoy the outside.
If you don’t have a yard, find a park or garden near you to which you can walk or bike. Hopefully it is quiet and a place you can experience the new buds and flowers on the plants and trees, or see the birds/butterflies, or just watch the clouds pass by. Spend just a few quiet moments to just breath, relax and observe. Be mindful of the time you have outdoors.
A new study from the University of Michigan tells how time outside makes people so much happier and less depressed and stressed.
“Our study shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature.” Mary Carol Hunter
“We know that spending time in nature reduces stress, but until now it was unclear how much is enough, how often to do it, or even what kind of nature experience will benefit us,” says Dr. MaryCarol Hunter, an Associate Professor at the University of Michigan and lead author of this research. “Our study shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature.”
“Participants were free to choose the time of day, duration, and the place of their nature experience, which was defined as anywhere outside that in the opinion of the participant, made them feel like they’ve interacted with nature. There were a few constraints to minimize factors known to influence stress: take the nature pill in daylight, no aerobic exercise, and avoid the use of social media, internet, phone calls, conversations and reading,” Hunter explains. Read more about the nature study here.
Take your free outdoor nature-pill, find outdoor beauty, plant seeds, touch, draw or picture, walk, observe, listen, and breathe.
Driving or using your phone doesn’t count, you need to find places near you. A place where you can take your nature-pill. I know you can find places if you try. Find a quiet place outside that helps you connect with nature.
Action for Happiness has the best calendar yet. How can we be more mindful in our lives? There are some terrific ideas for mindfulness below. I would add some outdoor time. Watch for signs of spring, and look for beauty everyday. I have seen new buds, birds migrating and flowers blooming. Enjoy and good luck
“The world around us,” she says, “we take it for granted. But if we pause a moment and look around, there’s so much beauty right in our own backyard. I want people to see that. I want people to realize this is not an ugly world.” Ellen Lentsch
This is an amazing story of a woman who climbed up the Red Wing, Minnesota bluffs, overlooking the Mississippi River, to take a sunrise picture everyday of 2016. Read the entire story and see her pictures here
“My vision is to create a world where we can live in harmony with nature” Jane Goodall
Earlier this month I took a road trip from Minnesota to Washington, D.C. We traveled the back roads through Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Everyday we would stop and hike in a park we came across. It was an amazing experience. Everyday we saw different trees and plants, different landscapes and birds, and a divergent mix of people. It was a lesson in diversity and beauty.
We stopped at monuments, state parks, county parks and national parks. The day we were at Gettysburg, I sat outside and ate lunch at the entrance to Gettysburg, and watched the people as they entered the park headquarters. I was struck by the diversity of people entering. It was a diverse group, of mixed ethnicity, and a range of militia t-shirts to “War is not the answer” shirts. The diversity was so interesting!
Parks and monuments are places we can all come together. They are places the wildlife can thrive, and where we all should feel welcome! In these politically divided times they are a place where everyone can meet, learn and enjoy. Parks and monuments of all kinds are what really show the strength of America! They take you to a history, gratitude and beauty of what our county truly represents. You leave feeling intense patriotism in your heart! Please support and love these amazing treasures.
To learn more about the battle of Gettysburg click here.