Stress And The Healing Power of Nature

Perhaps the biggest obstacle in people’s health is being in a state of emotional distress. According to researchers like Bruce Lipton, chronic stress is a primary cause of as much as 95 percent of all disease today. This fact is borne out in my practice. Nearly every patient I see tells me about how stressed they are.

Stress is not really what people think it is. It occurs when we perceive ourselves in a state of emotional discomfort. Most people view stress as something from the outside that happens to them. In reality, however, most of us are creating this state of discomfort as a result of the undesirable meaning we give to life experiences. In other words, it is not the external events themselves which cause stress, it is how we perceive, judge, think about, and react to them.

Learning to de-stress is a challenge. Nearly everyone today has taken on more than they can comfortably handle and consequently, they are driven by what they have taken on. You can detoxify, eat right, and exercise, but getting your emotional/mental state under control is what is often most important when it comes to maintaining and improving your energy and health. You’ve got to focus on what makes you feel good. Then use that feel-good energy to help you face and solve the challenges and problems that come your way each day.

I teach my patients that they’ve got to make it a point to regularly express love to their spouses, partners, children, siblings, parents, and friends, and to their pets if they have them. (Having and caring for a pet is a wonderful way to diminish stress, especially for people who live alone.) I also encourage them to regularly spend time engaged in activities they enjoy, whether it be hobbies, listening to great music, or rooting for their favorite sports team.

Expressing love and doing the things we love takes our minds off of our perceived problems and connects us to something greater than ourselves. Research has proven how beneficial this can be, finding that people who regularly give themselves to others in some way tend to live longer and healthier lives compared to people who are workaholics and primarily focused on themselves.

I want to also encourage you to do what children do all the time…
imagine! Imagine being absolutely healthy every day of your life. Imagine living to100 or longer with abundant health and energy. See yourself as an ambassador of longevity to the world.

And have fun. Some people say there is no fun in their life because there’s no one to have fun with. They are alone and lonely. I tell them to make a list of all the fun things they can do by themselves, and then to set about doing them. And I encourage them to count their blessings and be grateful for what life has already given them while concentrating on the energy of the universe moving through them. I encourage you to do the same. By taking these simple, basic steps, you can get your head and your emotions together. Then health and longevity will have a way of following.

Nowhere is the beauty and creative power of Spirit that gives us life more evident than in nature. When we spend time in nature, whether it be in a park, a walk in the woods, a hike in the mountains, or a day at the seashore, we are able to most directly experience the four elemental forms of energy—earth, water, fire, and air. Earth is energy in its most condensed form, water represents receptiveness, fire is the energy of transformation, and air is the blend of these other elements into subtle life force energy, which is why conscious breathing exercises have always been an integral aspect of healing methods such as yoga, tai chi, and qigong, resulting in a greater experience of qi or prana.

These four elements also manifest in your body as organic matter (earth), blood and other body fluids (water), metabolism and energy production (fire), and oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen (air). Time spent in a nature setting helps to balance and enhance these elements. In fact, in recent years, an entirely new field of health therapy known as earthing has arisen after researchers found that as little as 15 to 20 minutes spent walking or standing barefoot on grass, soil, or sand at the beach can dramatically reduce inflammation levels in the body, and do so to a greater degree than anti-inflammatory nutrients such as fish oil and other vitamins and minerals. The significance of this discovery cannot be overstated, given that chronic inflammation is a primary cause of a wide range of serious disease conditions, including arthritis, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Research has also shown that spending time in nature can lower blood pressure, ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and anger, and even increase the body’s production of various natural killer (NK) cells and anticancer proteins and their activity. Because of these and other findings, we encourage you to go barefoot in the grass for 15 minutes or more at sunset or right before sleep to discharge the excess positive charge that builds up in the body as a result of stress. Get out into nature as often as possible. The more you do so, the more you will help your body achieve and maintain better health.


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