Go play outside, you Biophiliac!

Has anyone ever told you to spend time in nature if you’re feeling down or a little off your groove? I’ve read through plenty of wellness articles listing “spend time in nature” as a way to re center yourself, and while I intuitively understand why this is sound advice, I still want to explore if there is some more concrete evidence for the therapeutic benefits of spending time out of doors.

The Biophilia Hypothesis….

The Biophilia hypothesis (not the Bjork album) asserts that humans have an instinctive bond with living systems in the world around them. It was used by Edward O. Wilson, an American biologist, in his book Biophilia (meaning “love of life or living systems”). The term is noted as first being used by Erich Fromm when describing “the passionate love of life and all that is alive” in his book The Anatomy of Human Destrictiveness.

 

(A phobia is an aversion to something, while an attraction or good feeling toward objects/habitats/activities in your natural world is called a philia)

 

 

Bringing Nature Indoors…

Biophilia has also become a method in design within the Green Movement. Proponents of Biophilia in design embrace the idea that humans function best in environments that are similar to the habitats in which we evolved.

So, what happens in a Biophilic space? Things like…

-Faster patient recovery

-Improved learning by students

-Increased workplace productivity, less absenteeism

-Increased sales

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater is an example of a Biophilic space.

Meeting Nature Where It’s At…

As the Biophilia hypothesis has gained popularity, more studies have been conducted to gauge whether there is validity to the therapeutic quality of nature. It has been found that contact with nature:

-Reduces stress

-Improves attention

-Is mentally restorative

-Increases longevity

You do not need to live near expanses of wilderness to get the benefits; you can feel the positive effects by spending time at your neighborhood park or even in a garden. It’s even been found that brief exposure to nature is beneficial. Looking at pictures or out a window can offer advantages to our mood by being visually pleasing.

I don’t know about you, but I’m going outside. Thanks for stopping by the well!

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Love: The most important piece of wellness

Hey Insiders! Welcome to the Well.

I want to talk a little bit about love in this post, because I feel like it is the most important piece of wellness. We may all have different reasons for striving to achieve better overall health, but if we ignore love, something is missing. Love helps us embrace where we are, and enjoy the journey to where we want to be with patience and joy.

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It is easy to approach exercise or eating habits with aggression and even violence, which might work to get us to change out behaviors initially. Ultimately, however, approaching our wellness with violence is not wellness at all; it is more like harassment. We should cultivate a deeper connection with ourselves, and move wholly, delicately, and enthusiastically toward a better quality of life.

Challenge yourself from a place of kindness.

In my experience of love, and what I define as love, it is an energy or a quality of being. It is not something created in an ideal set of circumstances (such as finally losing weight, getting a good job, or finding the perfect partner). The biggest favor we can do for others and ourselves is to acknowledge that cultivating a loving attitude is the biggest key to transformation.

I really like this recording of Anthony de Mello discussing love. This brief exploration of love resonates with me – enjoy!

What do you do to practice self-love? I’d love to read about it in the comments. Thank you for stopping by the Well!

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Why I love The Secret Life of Plants 

Hey Insiders! Welcome to the Well.

The Secret Life of Plants, published in 1973, is one of my favorite books. It shares experiments indicating that plants may be sentient – even though they lack a nervous system – and uses this information to suggest progressive farming techniques. The scientists featured in the book are Jagdish Chandra Bose, Corentin Louis Kervran and George Washington Carver.

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I’m sharing this because I couldn’t put this book down while reading it. It inspired a deeper understanding of the significance of my quality of being on the world around me. This book isn’t just for plant lovers; it’s for anyone interested in exploring their relationship to the world around them. I realized that I not only disturb myself when I am feeling consumed with negativity, but plants (and potentially everything – Panpsychism proposes that matter or physical energy is intrinsically sentient or experiential) can also detect my emotional state and be affected by it.

The claims made because of the experiments were refuted but, in this case, it’s not important to me. If an idea can inspire more thoughtfulness, awareness and awe, then it is valuable. It seems obvious, even without experimentation, that everything is interconnected and influential – whether it wants to be or not. I guess that’s another important thought this book provoked- that whether or not I want to impact the world around me, I do so simply by existing.

If you like watching full length documentaries on YouTube, here’s a documentary based on The Secret Life of Plants.

Have you read The Secret Life of Plants? How did you feel about it? I’d love to read about it in the comments. Thanks for stopping by the Well!

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Eat (or drink) your carrots!

 

Hey Insiders! Welcome to the Well.

When I’m juicing, I try to use fruits and veggies that are beneficial and affordable. Carrots pack that punch, since they host an array of health boosting qualities while not being too hard on your wallet. Carrots are a root vegetable that can accomplish some of then following:

Help to improve digestion when consumed twenty to thirty minutes before a meal. When you juice carrots, you remove

-Carrots possess a high level of carotenoids, which have been linked to a decrease in postmenopausal breast cancer. Other cancers, such as larynx, lung, colon, prostate and liver cancer, may decrease in occurrence with the consumption of carrots.

-The carotenoids in carrots can also help to regulate blood sugar levels.

-Carrots can help improve skin and hair health due to the vitamin A content.

Breastfeeding mothers can help ensure their babies are getting enough vitamin A by consuming carrots.

-Help to detox your liver by drinking carrot juice every day.

Check out some other benefits here.

I top my carrot juice off with some cilantro, which I’m growing on my porch. I LOVE cilantro, and will be sure to write a post with some of the benefits of this delicious herb soon.

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Do you love carrots? What’s your favorite way to eat them? I’d love to read about it in the comments. Thanks for stopping by the Well!

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Celebrating change

 

Hey Insiders… Welcome to the Well! It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted, and plenty has happened.

 

I’ve graduated with my MSW and now I’m looking for a job. I’m pretty sure I have one, so that’s excellent. Last week I was mostly sofa bound with a head cold, but fortunately I am feeling much better (I ate SO MUCH raw garlic). Anyways, in the midst of graduating, job hunting and resting up, I’ve neglected the Insider Well. It was actually a great exercise, because the thought of not posting was giving me stress. I decided that I didn’t want to post out of anxiety; I wanted to post when I was good and ready to dive back in. I’m feeling that way today.

 

This weekend I transplanted some seedlings outside that I had started indoors. Starting your own seeds is such a fun way to celebrate the approaching warmer weather. I never realize how much I miss spring until it’s here, and I am feeling rejuvenated. I’m taking time to reflect, since I am entering a new chapter in my life.

 

I will get married in September to my best friend. I’m finished with school for the foreseeable future. I’ve spent the past few years changing the way I approach each day. I’m feeling so grateful and renewed.

 

One of the biggest favors I’ve done for myself is giving up alcohol. Drinking, for many, is a great way to unwind and connect with others. For me, it felt alienating, stressful and destructive. It was a coping mechanism that had outworn its welcome. I did not like how I felt, I did not like what it did to my life and the way I felt about my relationships to others and myself. It’s been two and a half years since I’ve had a drink, and so many awesome things have happened for me since then. I’ve earned my master’s degree, been consistently making artwork, had more time to explore hobbies, I feel healthier, I’ve connected with new friends on more authentic levels and I feel more joyful.

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It can be easy to focus on what we need to do, where we need to go and what we are currently lacking. It’s good to have a plan and direction, but not at the cost of appreciating the distance you’ve covered on your journey. I’ll be 26 on Wednesday, which has put me in a state of reflection. I am vowing to put more effort into appreciating on the positive changes I have made in my life, and to thank myself for making tough choices that have helped me to grow.

 

Do you take time to appreciate your growth and accomplishments, both big and small? I’d love to read about sometimes you’ve done for yourself that you a grateful for. Thanks for stopping by the Well!

 

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A quote that enhanced my meditation practice

Hey Insiders! Welcome to the Well.

Meditating is one of the nicest things I do for myself, but I sometimes go for a long period of time without it. The past several months I have gotten back into the swing of daily meditation, and it’s helped me feel anchored – especially in the midst of so much change in my life. I’m getting married, finishing a graduate program, looking for work, and so on. Needless to say, the consistency is welcome.

I cannot say that every time I sit for meditation I enter a beautiful internal sanctuary of bliss and joy. Sometimes my mind is busy or my energy is shifting in a way that begs for my attention.

Instead of letting this ruin my meditation, or causing me to feel frustrated, I see this as an opportunity to learn about myself. I’m grateful that my mind can handle organizing the tasks I’ve laid out for myself, and I’m grateful for my energy levels.

A few years ago when I would sit for meditation, I would approach myself with a sort of violence. I stepped away from meditation for a little while, because I knew that’s not what it should feel like. I would feel like I needed to clear out my head, like I needed to change, like I needed to become better than I was.

I knew when I approached my meditation practice this time, if I wanted to sustain and truly benefit from the practice, I had to be gentle and kind to myself. I knew that I had to meditate for the joy of meditation, of learning about myself in the moment, of watching myself with love. Then I saw this quote by Pema Chodron, and it helped clarify what I have been feeling about meditation.

tumblr_lpho9qX4M41r15q2uo1_500Reading this has enhanced the way I approach meditation every day. It’s shifted my perspective. Gabrielle Bernstein defines a miracle as “a shift in perspective from fear to love.” So, for me, this statement by Pema Chodron is miraculous. I am approaching meditation from a space of self love, rather than a space of self judgement. Believe me, if you are approaching meditation with an attitude of judgement, you’ll never feel refreshed and you certainly aren’t nurturing positive growth. I am so grateful that I’ve had this shift in perspective.

Do you have a meditation practice? What has been useful to you in cultivating self love? I’d love to read about it in the comments. Thanks for stopping by the Well!

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Ever consider trying bee pollen?

Hey Insiders! Welcome to the Well.

Many of us enjoy honey; it provides us with a natural sweetener, tastes great in tea, you can wash your hair with it, the list goes on… But have you considered trying bee pollen? Those of us with allergies may be saying “hell no, I’ll immediately fill up with snot and sneezes,” but actually, locally sourced bee pollen can help allergy sufferers. That’s not all bee pollen has to offer.

 

Benefits of bee pollen:

-Helps balance your hormones

-Lowers bad cholesterol

-Increases mental clarity

-Can aid in weight loss

-Prevents disease and infection

-Detoxifying

-Immunity building

-Improves skin health

-Increase in life span

-Increased energy

-Combats fatigue

-Aids in healing

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If you do have an allergy to bee pollen, you may want to consult with your doctor before you begin taking it. Generally, people with pollen allergies have success when they start with smaller doses to help their bodies adjust. You can find bee pollen capsules in health food stores or on amazon.com, which is where I purchased mine.

 

Do you take bee pollen? Would you? I’d love to read about it in the comments. Thanks for stopping by the Well!

 

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