Spending Time in Nature – A Big Sigh of Stress Relief

The Reality…
In a recent blog I offered ten tips to reduce stress, stress being one of the three components of the Weight Loss Triangle I advocate.  One of those tips, a personal favorite of mine, was to spend time in nature.  I don’t know about you, but I feel a little more at peace just looking at the picture above.  I imagine myself sitting just where the woman in the picture is seated.  She must feel the pleasure of rest after exerting herself to reach where she is seated and now enjoying the beauty of nature.  I imagine how much more incredible it would be to witness that view in person.  I imagine the sounds of nature she must be hearing.  I can’t see any birds in the picture, but perhaps they are there, and chirping away with a variety of beautiful sounds.  Or maybe there is complete stillness and silence, equally as beautiful and even more peaceful.  I imagine the smell of the fresh air and the outdoors and nature.  I imagine how the air must feel filling up her lungs.  I imagine the feel of the sun beating down upon her skin.  Perhaps there is a nice breeze that causes her hair to lay to the left side of her back and neck.  Ahhhh.
The Challenge…
If you’re trying to lose weight and living a high stress lifestyle, not only should you be paying attention to the food and drink you consume and the frequency and intensity of your exercise, but you should also be mindful of managing your stress.  Stress produces the hormone cortisol (also known as the “stress hormone”), and can most definitely interfere with your ability to lose weight.  Spending time in nature is a great way to relieve stress, and I personally indulge is this form of stress relief every single day.
The Solution… 
Nature offers a delight for each of our senses, and it is no wonder that spending time in nature can help relieve stress and elevate mood.  Each morning when I walk in nature at a local park, I tune into each of my senses to not only be fully present in that moment but also to fully detach from the things that cause stress in my life.  I notice the trees and wildlife and body of water I see.  I smell the mossy smells of the lake and the flowers and the air.  I listen to the crickets and the birds.  I feel the breeze against my skin and the moistness of the morning air.  It’s my single favorite practice for reducing stress and spending time alone with myself in preparation for the day ahead, and I highly recommend it.
Aside from potentially boosting your activity level and getting your body in motion, spending time in nature by taking a walk in a park, garden, beach or amongst many trees is great for your mental well-being and feeling of happiness.  
Have you heard of “forest bathing”?  I had not.  “Forest bathing”, also known as Shinrin-yoku Forest Therapy, is the practice of simply being in the forest or wooded area, and it is said to lower blood pressure and cortisol levels. Shinrin-yoku is a term that means “taking in the forest atmosphere” and it was developed in Japan during the 1980s and has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine.
According to http://www.shinrin-yoku.org/, among the scientifically-proven benefits of Shinrin-yoku are:
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Reduced stress
  • Improved mood
  • Increased ability to focus
  • Increased energy level
  • Improved sleep
Maybe you’re not close to a forest or heavily wooded area to regularly indulge “forest bathing,” but any time you can be outside in nature and away from your electronics, traffic and the other noisy demands of your lifestyle, take full advantage and breathe in nature’s big sigh of stress relief.
The Invitation….
To get started on a deeper dive into permanent weight loss, click on the calendar below to schedule a FREE mini-session with me.  What do you have to lose but some weight??  

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Ten Tips to Manage Stress

The Reality…
Stress hits us from many different directions in today’s world.  And some of our sources of stress are delivered to us non-stop via the Internet.  According to a recent study, American adults spend more than 11 hours per day watching, reading, listening to or simply interacting with media.  It’s no wonder we are more stressed than ever before.  
Aside from what’s going on “out there” that we read about online and otherwise, we have our own personal stressors.  Work-related stress is a major source of personal stress.  A recent Forbes article reported the following survey results for workplace trends in 2019:
  • 76% of respondents said workplace stress “had a negative impact on their personal relationships”
  • 66% have lost sleep due to work-related stress
  • 16% have quit jobs because stress became too overwhelming.
Add additional personal stressors such as relationship conflict and money challenges to the mix, and it’s no wonder so many people are suffering.  According to the Global Organization for Stress, 75% of adults reported experiencing moderate to high levels of stress in month prior to the survey and nearly half reported that their stress has increased in the past year.
Sadly, we don’t even need to see the statistics, watch the news or go online to know stress is on the rise.  We feel it in our own bodies.  In fact, stress may be one of the primary reasons we find ourselves living in an overweight body, and maybe even trying to medicate against health challenges such as high blood pressure. 
The Challenge…
If you allow stress to go unchecked, your mind and body may experience some undesirable side effects, such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, premature aging, mood disorders, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system.  Stress can also lend itself to poor dietary choices, which contribute to unhealthy weight gain and obesity.
How do you cope with your stress?  Do you do anything proactive to manage it?  Or do you give it free reign to lessen the quality of your life and your health?  Does stress impact your relationships?  Does stress keep you up at night?  Have you wanted to your quit your job because you found it too stressful?  Can you look in the mirror and see it on your face?
The Solution…
The truth is that if you don’t manage stress, it will manage you.  And it will seriously impact the quality of your life, your health, and your efforts at weight loss.  Below are ten tips to reduce your level of stress.  Each one will be explored in more detail in upcoming blogs because I consider stress management to be key to maintaining a healthy body, and a happy life.  I recommend you incorporate some sort of stress relief into each day to counter balance the inevitability of stressful situations that will present themselves in your life.  A mindful daily practice of stress management will help avoid the accumulation of stress in your mind and body, which can lead you to chronic stress and put you at risk for significant health problems.  Try some of these and see which ones work for you.
  1. Meditation
  2. Yoga
  3. Exercise 
  4. Spend time in nature
  5. Plan your week in advance
  6. Work on improving your organization skills
  7.  Learn to say NO to too many commitments
  8. Optimize your sleeping environment for a good night’s sleep
  9. Examine how you spend your time and incorporate more life balance
  10. Examine, and work on, your thoughts about your life circumstance and stressors
The Invitation….
To get started on a deeper dive into stress management and permanent weight loss, click on the calendar below to schedule a FREE mini-session with me.  What do you have to lose but some weight??  

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