Top five habits #4: Nature fix

Richard Louv is the latest in a line of distinguished nature writers. While his style is more journal than novel, his research and conclusions drew our attention to a growing problem. We don’t get wild often enough. The title of his book “Last Child in the Woods” was provocative enough to draw a large readership. Not as eloquent as Aldo Leopold, his message was clear:

Separating ourselves from the natural environment harms us in ways we never realized, and we weren’t meant to live that way.

I write and speak from a very defined point of view, focusing on how to live at an optimum human scale and pace. Nature connection is central to my message. On one hand, the only thing you have to have to begin implementing such a lifestyle is a change of heart. On the other hand, the world won’t change overnight. If I make it known to my city’s planners that we need beautiful natural settings in which to walk, they’re not going to start building it on Monday morning.

Each day, we must do what we can. Here are some things you can do today.

* Get your hands in the dirt – you can pot seedlings in a sunny window. Do you have plants in your house? It is one of the healthiest things you can do for your home, as the plants even help to clean the air. Check with your local nursery about the best plants for your home.

* In the absence of the plants themselves, you can give yourself a quick nature boost with essential oils. Your scent receptors can quickly send a message to your brain that alter your mood, boost neural connections, and might even lower your blood pressure.

* Walking is one of my most frequent topics, because it really is where the sole meets the sidewalk in human scale and pace. Walking in a natural setting has a synergistic effect, as does walking with a friend. Doing all three is even better. Find two or three places near you; places of natural beauty where you can slip away for a few moments and drink it all in. An often overlooked place is your local greenhouse or nursery. Yes, they are businesses, but if you tell them what you’re doing and ask to volunteer for an hour or two a week if only to green up your life a bit, they may say yes. If not, you could fall back on walking the indoor plant section of your big box home improvement store.

* If you are housebound or otherwise unable to get outside, research has shown that your senses will respond to nature scenes on the TV. That obviously isn’t the ideal, but if that is what you have to work with, go for it. I’ve curated several bike trail videos that are full of blue skies, trees, fields, and natural sounds. If you have a treadmill or stationary bike, put it in front of the screen, click over to YouTube and choose one of the following bike trail videos from my channel Great American Trails.

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