- View Offline
- Misbeliefs about happiness
- Focusing on good
- Building gratitude
- Eliminating sources of unhappiness
- Reducing stress
Skill Level Appropriate for all
- [Instructor] Another contributor to our happiness is time spent outside with nature. I don't know why this is. I guess it's because we're animals, and we have a past of being outside, so we still have this connection with nature. Anyway, even if it's cold out there, and you don't feel like getting any exercise, it's good for the soul, and good for your overall happiness to get some contact with nature. You probably will get some exercise as well, which can be a bad thing.
Here are some ideas on how to get more nature into your life, and I'm hoping that you might decide to adopt just one of them, and make it a habit. Go for a walk. Maybe at lunch time, around the block, or maybe walk to work if the weather is good. If you don't tend to take the train or bus because it doesn't go right from your front door to the office door, then maybe consider walking the first and last bit, and make that a feature. Breathe in the air, and get the exercise.
Then, maybe think about how you can get more contact with trees, only to look at, I don't mean actually hugging them, although you can if you want. Are there any lakes where you can go walking? There's something about water. Can you go on the occasional trip to the sea, or is there a viewpoint near you where you can walk up to, or even just go to, and sit, and look at? And of course, gardening. If you have a garden, that's a great way to get a bit more nature into your life.
If you like horses, then they would certainly count as getting in touch with nature. Also, walking dogs. In fact, any contact with animals of any kind, pets, large or small, wild birds in your garden, or seen through binoculars, all kinds of animals and plants, and getting as much sunlight as you can. Did you know that even the brightest indoor lighting is only a fraction of the brightness of the sun, and it contains often only one frequency of light, whereas the sun has the whole range of white light.
Your brain needs to see a certain amount of real sunlight in order to feel good, hence some people suffering from SAD, in the darker, winter months. Probably not here in California where in filming this, but in northern countries, like Scandinavia, and Canada, SAD is quite a problem. I must say, back in England, I do miss the sunlight during our cloudy winters. I've investigated SAD lamps. For example, you can get ones that slowly wake you up in the morning, instead of the shock of an alarm clock, but they're pretty expensive, usually $100-$200.
A cheaper solution is to buy just a full-spectrum bulb, for $10, and put it in an ordinary lamp. I've done this, and I have it on when I'm working at my computer in the evenings. Although I can't prove it, I do think it makes me feel good, as my brain gets a little boost of Summery type light most evenings. The brightness of sunlight is good for us, although, official health warning, wear sunglasses if it's really bright, and don't burn yourselves, obviously.
If you have a garden, then it's great to spend a bit of time out there, pruning, and planting, and composting, and if legal, bon firing. I have a machine that grinds up sticks and branches into chippings, and I do find feeding that very satisfying. I never thought I would, but I do. What if you are a busy person? When can you get this time outside? Well, as I mentioned before, lunch time is a good moment to recharge your batteries for the afternoon, but you could also put into your diary some weekends away, doing something like a long walk, or a cycle ride.
I have some friends who I meet with every few months, and we go on a different walk together, always ending up at a nice village pub for lunch. It's a great way to keep in touch, as you can get a load of talking done as you walk, and then also at the pub. Finally, the stars at night count as being in touch with nature, and they can be really amazing. I'd like to set you the challenge of learning to spot 10 constellations, and then you will feel really good spotting them when you are out there.
Also, there are about four meteor showers which happen on the same dates every year, so if you put them in your phone calendar as an annual repeating event, you can go outside at midnight, set up a comfy chair with a quilt over you, and lean back and watch the show. You'll see about one shooting star per minute, which isn't bad. You can set out there with a friend and chat, and admire the heavens at the same time, and it's free as well. To sum up this section, what's your plan for spending more time outside with nature? Will it be walking, or cycling, or looking at views, or the stars? Will it be a lunch time, or weekends? Put aside some time now in your diary, and make it happen.