Green and Environment Articles

5 Mindful Ways to Protect Against Depression

Friday, December 19th, 2014

5 Mindful Ways to Protect Against DepressionCultivating a life of happiness is much the same as cultivating a garden. They both come with pests, and we can choose how we want to treat the pests. Using the example of a vegetable garden, we treat the vegetables and the soil to protect from pests that may interfere with growth and cause damage.

One choice is to spray pesticides. But pesticides also get into the soil, destroying needed nutrients and minerals, and ultimately affect the vegetables’ taste and quality.

The Surprising Facts about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

The Surprising Facts about Seasonal Affective DisorderA cup of hot chocolate. A funny movie. A snowball fight. These are all things that can cure the winter blues. It’s easy to feel gloomy or un-energetic on dark and windy winter days. But it’s often equally as easy to pick yourself with a little physical exercise or a happy movie.

But what if the things that normally make you feel better don’t help?

If you find yourself feeling unhappy for days at a time or losing interest in the activities you once took pleasure in, you may be one of the millions of Americans who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Moods & Seasons

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Moods and SeasonsFootball. School supplies. Changing leaves. Cooling temperatures. These are a few of the things I love about fall. I also tend to feel calmer and more relaxed when autumn rolls around. Summer feels so brash, intense and bright. Fall somehow feels softer. Perhaps it’s because of the change in light.

New research led by Alison Jing Xu from the University of Toronto-Scarborough shows just how sensitive we are to bright light. In a brighter space, people in the experiment felt warmer, wanted spicier food, found others more aggressive, and even had a stronger reaction to words.

Foods to Improve Your Mood

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Foods to Improve Your MoodScientists are beginning to recognize the link between diet, levels of inflammation in the body, and mood.

It is a commonly held belief that your gut is in fact your “second brain.” In fact, more serotonin (the “feel-good” neurotransmitter) is produced in the gut than in the brain. Eating anti-inflammatory nutrients on a regular basis can help you lower your stress levels, feel calmer, and maintain energy from the inside out. Processed foods, on the other hand, do the exact opposite.

Ease Stress and Improve Mental Health with Group Nature Walks

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

Mountain

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, autumn is finally here — that time of year when we feel a natural longing to get outside, enjoy the cooler weather and witness nature’s colorful displays. And as if on cue, new research has just revealed that stepping out into nature and participating in group walks can help ease stress and greatly enhance mental health.

Sleep and Light Exposure

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

Sleep and LightThe information and research findings on sleep are coming fast and furious these days. There seems to be a backlash to the cult of productivity and the former “badge of honor” for functioning on the least amount of sleep. There is a recurrent theme, which is that by not making restorative sleep a priority, there are both short-term and longer term negative consequences.

The negative impact of too much artificial light has become increasingly more relevant, as many of us are using multiple light-emitting devices right up until when our head hits the pillow. If you are interested in the optimal functioning of the human organism, it’s time to evaluate your sleep quantity, quality, and routine, as well as your exposure to both natural and artificial light.

Using Your Senses to Gain a Richer Life

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Using Your Senses to Gain a Richer LifeBeing present is the essence of a mindfulness meditation practice. When we think of meditation, we often think of sitting on the floor, eyes closed, legs crossed, chanting “om,” but you don’t have to begin here — nor do you have to chant om.

Actual “sitting” practice is what we call formal practice. Informal practice is bringing presence into our daily lives, when our eyes are wide open. We can enter our lives with more presence through our five senses.

Our senses are the way we interpret and experience the world. We gather information about our experiences through our senses. For many of us, these senses have become dull and numb, and we wonder why we aren’t experiencing a life of more quality and richer experience.

5 Ways Autumn Boosts Our Spirits

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Five Ways Autumn Boosts Our SpiritsIn autumn we can succumb to transformation. We can be fickle like the temperatures outside; we can embrace uncertainty and welcome transition, the unknown.

“I think fall evokes feelings of coziness and warmth and is such a multifunctional season,” says Anna Solo, a wellness blogger for freshtheblog.com.

I recently wrote about summer activities that can boost our mental health, and in light of the new season, here are some of autumn’s charms that are good for the soul as well.

Finding the Yin and Yang During the Hot Summer Months

Monday, September 8th, 2014

sunny_summer-1153

It’s been a hot summer. I showed up to my yoga studio the other day, and noticed that the air purifying machine was blinking and beeping, which made me think of my kitchen lights, which just the night before had shorted out. I looked up to see the time and saw that even the clock was running slow. I was about to teach a class on the dangers of “Summer System Overload,” and the electronics were proving my point.

We know, of course, that we have to be careful when it’s hot to avoid dehydration, heatstroke, and sunburn, but extreme heat can also affect us on energetic and emotional levels. From a Taoist perspective, we are in a Yang season, and now is an important time to stay in touch with our inner Yin.

Can Weather Affect Your Mood?

Friday, August 29th, 2014

weather-affect-mood

As most of the nation suffers through some of the hottest temperatures on record this summer, people are asking the question of how exactly does weather impact our mood. For instance, how does hot weather affect our mood? Does it make us more aggressive — or even more violent?

Does rain make us sad? How about cold temperatures… do they make us feel more like wanting to hunker down, hibernate, and isolate ourselves from others?

Let’s revisit how weather affects our mood and impacts our lives.

6 Summer Activities to Boost Your Spirits

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

6 Summer Activities to Boost Your SpiritsCome summer, we may bask under blue skies, gorge on delicious barbecue and frequent the outdoors, acquiring boosts of vitamin D. However, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can occur in the summer months, too.

Here are summery activities that may reignite innocence and enjoyment:

Anxious? Stressed? Depressed? Hire Nature as Your Therapist

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Mysterious path

Stressed out? Let nature calm you down.

For the past ten years I have taken a small group of people into the woods for a seven-day retreat in the fall. Every year, I am amazed at the healing effects of this. By the end of the week, everyone is blissful, at peace and alive in ways they were not when they arrived.

Each year, at least one person experiences a radical, life-changing shift. They have the tools to endure suffering better than they have in the past.

Now Japanese scientific studies prove that “forest bathing” or taking a walk in the woods, can have a profound effect on the immune system and the elimination of stress and anxiety. Yoshifumi Miyazaki, director of the Center for Environment Health and Field Sciences at Chiba University and the head researcher on the project, said, “humans had lived in nature for 5 million years. We were made to fit a natural environment. So we feel stress in an urban area…When we are exposed to nature, our bodies go back to how they should be.” In fact, “forest bathing” is a standard preventative medicine in Japan for those at risk of stress-induced diseases.

Recent Comments
  • Josh: Great article, I could really use active conditioning on learning to control my emotions (I am known as a...
  • brokeandblue: I am someone that prides myself on being non-judgemental. At all. In fact I get complimented on this,...
  • Cathy Taughinbaugh: This is a wonderful list of blogs, which are so helpful to those suffering from anxiety. I wanted...
  • Parsnip: Interesting article, the logic fits in well with what happens. I think that swearing also reduces...
  • MomNxwife: I agree with what you say in this article; however, after living with loved ones who suffer with bi-polar...
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