Thank you to all who said yes to reclaiming your mojo in magical Mexico with me, Mach 11-18, 2023. I hope you had as amazing a time as I did. Here are some follow-up resources to help you keep grounded, open, and clear.
Just click on graphics of any resource to learn more.
Enjoy this curated collection of helpful ebooks and guides for support on your physical and mental health from a variety of health and wellness professionals.
Click on links below to download these helpful guides.
1. the act of resolving or determining upon an action, course of action, method, procedure, etc.
2. a decision or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something.the mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of purpose
3. the act or process of resolving or separating something into constituent or elementary parts.
Being in the line of work I am, resolutions are nothing new.
Usually feeling less than stellar after the holidays, in years past I have diligently crafted a list of DO’s and DON’Ts for the upcoming year, dedicating myself to all kinds of goals, from eating less sugar, being kinder to others, to climbing a new, scary, mountain.
But this year, I could really care less.
I’m not sure what the Universe is trying to tell me: as I’m also feeling stuck, and anxious due to the holding pattern Herb and I are in waiting for his new hip. Or maybe it’s something else altogether: a result of my newfound “maturity,” making attachments of any kind less attractive and compelling.
It could also just be, I am in a good place.
As someone who’s always looking ahead, being in “a good place,” feels a bit annoying.
And yet, isn’t that the very goal I’ve sought each year for myself and my clients?
I’m continually amazed by the power of the mind to hang on to shit thoughts and outdated, repetitive patterns. It would be funny if it weren’t so tragic.
So this year, my resolution is to simply be present and open to my good health and to celebrate how good I can feel each day.
The last two years studying nutrition have helped deepen my appreciation for the power of food, and the very real costs of over-indulging in alcohol, which I am prone to do.
Mostly my studies afford me a new level of health that comes from understanding that “willpower” is a function of biochemistry and not a measure of character.
Our bodies keep the score.
They reflect our thoughts, choices, and daily practices. Because our body systems function as a whole, our gut health, hormone balance, brain acuity, and emotional resilience are interdependent on creating a balance between them.
It’s not very sexy and an even harder sell, but improving our gut health is the first and most important step towards balanced health.
When you support your gut with whole, unprocessed foods, (mostly vegetables), life simply gets better.
As a departure this year, I am not offering my regular 3 to 6-week fat loss course, opting instead for a one-day presentation with my Institute for Nutritional Endocrinology partner, Jennifer Taggert Whitmire.
Jen, a self proclaimed nutrition nerd, is a wildly talented chef
and health coach who offers a variety of excellent online programs ranging from her 5- day seasonal Resets to her intensive 12-week C.R.E.A.T.E program.
The two of us are teaming up on Sunday, January 15th @ 1:00 pm CST for a FREE online Pivot Party, a post-holiday dry January workshop to help you support your better health in 2023.
By now you understand the biochemistry of aging and the profound effects we can make on our rate of aging via epigenetic lifestyle choices.
How we sleep, eat, move, manage stress, and create a sense of purpose all influence not only our lifespan (how long we live) but our healthspan (how well we live).
But even when we’re doing all we can to reset our aging clock, evidence of our chronological age may linger. Fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin can make us feel defeated despite our best anti-aging efforts.
To align our outer look with our newly younger body inside may take some facial cosmetic intervention.
Neuromodulators like Botox and Dysport can help, and so can fillers like Juvaderm and Restylane, but what happens when surgery may be the best option for getting the results you want?
Then it may be time to talk to a plastic surgeon, and that’s just what we’re going to in the third workshop of THE BIG REWIND.
Dr. Regina Nouhan, a plastic surgeon with over 25 years of clinical experience in all varieties of plastic surgery, joins us on Saturday, January 14, 2023, for a detailed discussion of facial plastic surgery interventions.
Following her successful and satisfying career, surgeon Regina Nouhan, MD retired from a broad practice in Cosmetic Surgery, Reconstructive Surgery, Hand & Microsurgery, and Skin Care.
This was centered in the Midwest, primarily with the well-respected Monarch Plastic Surgery group.
After phasing out of active practice, Dr. Nouhan wished to continue to provide service, now in a different capacity.
Hence, RMN Projects, LLC was founded with the intent of finding new ways to put her insight and experience to good use, focusing on consulting, teaching, and communications.
After years of volunteering for local public radio station KCUR, and having been told she had a “good radio voice,” Dr. Nouhan decided to produce a patient-education podcast called: Plastic Surgery Decoded.
The following blog is a transcript from Season 1 Episode 10 where she discusses cosmetic interventions for lines and wrinkles.
Read on to learn how the face ages, what causes the wrinkles and lines, treatment options, and how to layer different treatments for best results.
What can be done for facial rejuvenation?
When we think of facial aging, typically what comes to mind is something that only happens when we are 40 or 50. And it’s true that we will have many signs of facial aging by that time and beyond.
But actually, signs of aging can begin much earlier, even in our late twenties and thirties. Of course, there is nothing wrong with these fine lines and small wrinkles that eventually progressed to deeper and more noticeable ones. They are perfectly natural.
And each one of us is going to age at a different speed, based mostly on our genetics. But many people want to minimize the outward signs of aging.
We are typically born with wonderfully resilient and smooth skin which has great elasticity and is supported underneath by a healthy layer of natural fat.
As time passes, the youthful building blocks of the skin, like collagen and elastin, gradually begin to degrade and break down. At first, the rate is very slow, but that picks up as we get older.
People who start out with thicker skin tend to take longer to show age, but in general, the skin starts to thin out and become less elastic.
Also with age, we can see irregularities in the specific skin cells that produce and control pigmentation, called melanocytes. Those irregularities can lead to uneven pigmentation.
In addition to all that, the nice supportive fat layer under our skin layer starts to thin out and migrates south, following gravity, losing its youthful fullness.
These natural changes can be accelerated by environmental factors like smoking and sun exposure over the years. They can also be expedited by hormonal changes, including menopause.
So given how the skin ages, how does that translate to wrinkles and lines?
Well, think of a piece of elastic fabric whose elastic over time has stretched and given out. If you fold
it, it will likely crease, and if you hold it up, there will likely be areas of sagging.
Our skin can act like that too.
Our facial skin covers the muscles that contract and move to show expression. When we are younger, the skin doesn’t leave a crease after the underneath muscles temporarily fold it. It returns to a smooth state after we’re done smiling or frowning.
But as we age, our skin loses some of the quality and amount of its collagen and elastin over time with repeated muscle contractions.
And think of how many times we smile frown or squint each day. The skin starts to develop some crease lines where it folds and it just can’t bounce back.
We must also factor in the pull from gravity.
With less fat underlying and supporting our skin, it can sag and settle to aggravate the appearance of lines and folds.
So what can be done?
Well, luckily, there are a multitude of options for facial rejuvenation but choosing which are best for an individual person depends on the specific problem at hand. Because not everyone has the same aging process.
The bottom line is we must diagnose the cause of the specific concern.
It may be helpful to break the issues down into three categories:
1. For some, fine lines or skin surface texture is the biggest problem.
2. Other people may have more of an issue with loss of elasticity, creating stretched out or excess skin.
3. And for some people, the lack of underlying skin support is the main problem.
Dr. Nouhan often used a triple-layered approach to facial rejuvenation based on evaluating all three skin properties and treated each if needed though not necessarily simultaneously.
To review, those properties are surface texture, skin elasticity, and underlying volume.
First, if skin texture has become a problem, such as with fine lines, then treatment can start with a good skincare product regime to promote new collagen production and turnover or clean out old damaged collagen.
This is great for milder cases.
For more significant skin texture problems, minimally invasive procedures aimed at resurfacing the skin like chemical peels, microdermabrasion, micro-needling or laser peels may be just the thing.
And of course, these can range from a light touch to relatively aggressive depending upon what’s needed and how much downtime the patient is able to tolerate.
Most of these are able to be done in the office setting, possibly with a topical numbing cream.
Adding a growth factor serum or maybe platelet-rich plasma which is derived from your own blood right in the office may enhance results as well.
If the skin texture problem includes perhaps some discoloration, light-based treatments like BBL (broad-band light therapy) as an example, may be of benefit.
After chemical or laser treatment, there may be some skin peeling and redness with, as you’d expect, a lengthier recovery if the peel is deeper.
The selection and method of peel are best determined by an experienced practitioner, taking into account the individual patient’s needs and desires.
But like anything, keeping the results requires maintenance. The frequency depends on how invasive or deep the remedy was.
For lighter treatments, the required maintenance or touch-ups will need to be more frequent. But sometimes that’s preferable for patients who don’t want to deal with a longer downtime from a more intense treatment.
Secondly, let’s talk about problems with skin elasticity.
Again, there is a spectrum of severity. On the lesser end, the loss of elasticity may just be manifested by a little bit deeper wrinkles but in a more advanced case, there may also be loose sagging skin.
Neither topical products nor superficial skin peel treatments are likely to do enough for these issues.
If the loss of elasticity is mild, external tightening treatments such as laser treatments or radiofrequency treatments can noticeably improve things, and sometimes reducing the muscle contracting underneath the problem area can reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles.
Again, normally the muscle sits under the skin and when it contracts, the overlying skin has to bend in response. If a person is losing skin elasticity,
Repeatedly, contracting muscles will create an actual skin crease. And this is where Botox or similar neural modulators can come in handy. There are a few of them available these days.
Botox and the like have no direct effect on skin, but a neuro modulator can indirectly make a difference because it weakens the amount the underlying muscle moves. Going back to our fabric analogy; if you don’t fold the fabric, you don’t see a crease.
Now, that doesn’t mean that Botox can completely erase skin lines, especially if they’re pretty etched, but it can often help.
It’s a very tolerable procedure as things go, but it needs to be done in a judicious way to avoid complications or overdoing it. It lasts around three months on average. So maintenance is key here.
But what about the more involved loss of elasticity cases where there is sagging skin or actual skin folds?
If it’s not too bad, and in certain locations, sometimes a little bit of injected filler can plump out the region enough to make it look better. But beware.
Attempting to do too much correction with just filler risks looking bloated and overdone. And unfortunately, we’ve probably all seen someone who has that issue.
A better option in those situations is to lift or tighten the problem area and remove the excess skin.
Surgical options for resetting the facial aging clock can include a facelift, sometimes with added suspension threads, a neck lift, which is normally part of a facelift, but can be done separately, eyelid tuck, and a brow lift.
Thirdly, if there is volume loss in the area that is contributing to the tendency for skin sagging, folding, or just looking deflated, suggesting the underlying fat has thinned out or migrated south, surgically stretching and taking out excess skin could help.
But surgery may still leave a non-youthful appearance. That’s where injectable filler or even the body’s own fat injected beneath the
problem area could help to plump up the region and go a long way to restoring contour.
Fillers often have hyaluronic acid as their basic ingredient, something normally found in our bodies. Just a couple of examples are Juvederm and Restylane.
Hyaluronic acid gel not only fills up a space, it also attracts water from the surrounding tissues, helping keep the area plumped. Hyaluronic acid fillers do typically require periodic maintenance injections, though.
But what’s nice about them is that if you don’t like the new look, it will eventually dissolve after 3 to 6 months or more.
A reversal medication can be injected to dissolve it much quicker if the results are not as expected.
A different category of filler is called bio stimulatory, and it works by stimulating the collagen in tissues in the area of injection to thicken up over time. As the tissue thickens up, there is more volume and less appearance of sagging skin.
Examples include Sculptra and Radiesse. They will often last much longer, perhaps up to a couple of years, but they cannot easily be reversed. It may be wise to start with something that will dissipate more quickly to be sure you like the new look, then you can progress to something that lasts longer.
In general, fillers are a nice option as downtime is pretty minimal, though there can be rare complications. Downtime is usually pretty minimal.
We’ve discussed three levels at which the facial skin can show age and basic options for treating each one.
But what if a person has more than one of these issues going on simultaneously? This is most often the case.
When someone presents complaining of skin lines, wrinkles, and folds, it’s usually due to a combination of etiologies, even all three.
As long as that is recognized, treatment can be focused accordingly. Combination results are therefore superior to treating only one aspect.
And that’s where a layered approach to rejuvenation comes into play.
If it’s clear that a patient would benefit from a layered approach, some physicians will choose to build from the bottom up, creating a foundation, and then treating the surface.
If there is volume loss, they may build this with filler or fat grafting.
Afterward, it’s a bit easier to assess how much extra skin is present.
If there is still excess then surgical tightening or removal may be indicated. If not that much excess is present, perhaps something like percutaneous threads used judiciously can produce a limited lift without surgery.
But most well-trained plastic surgeons can predict what will ultimately be needed at the time of the consultation. So sometimes those two steps, lift and fill, can efficiently be done at the same time.
If surgery has been performed, after sufficient surgical healing, a laser or chemical peel could be done to refine the skin surface and try to help those superficial fine lines that surgery and filler can’t resolve.
But there is no magic order of treatment. Some plastic surgeons may prefer starting with the skin surface, then building up volume later.
And sometimes it comes down to the patient’s preferences and priorities, or certainly finances.
Now, all of this timeline of layered treatment we’ve discussed is with or without Botox.
You can’t use Botox everywhere, but depending upon the location of the lines and wrinkles, Botox can be a great tool to start with easing a person into facial rejuvenation. It can also be a nice way to help maintain results from other treatments.
If the underlying muscle contractions are reduced, there is less of a stimulus for lines to return so quickly.
This blog has covered a lot of ground! Dr. Nouhan hopes it makes the concept of facial rejuvenation and the treatment of lines and wrinkles seem a little more logical.
It’s important to remember that all three levels of skin aging should be evaluated with a realistic expectation about what can be accomplished.
Expecting too much from one type of treatment may be a mistake that leads to disappointment.
Professional guidance is crucial.
As always, there is no substitute for a formal consultation with your plastic surgeon who will counsel you with their best judgment.
By now, you know longevity relies primarily on our lifestyle choices. What we eat, when we eat it, exercising, managing our stress, and prioritizing sleep provide the foundation for living longer and living healthier.
There is no shortcut to optimal health or longevity.
Perhaps you’re all in- doing everything you can to optimize your biochemistry for anti-aging from the inside out, but lingering wrinkles and sagging skin are deflating your motivation.
It may be time to think about facial rejuvenation.
Join Dr. Regina Nouhan on Saturday, January 14, 2023, as we discuss facial plastic surgery interventions to help your outside match your newly younger inside as part of THE BIG REWIND series.
Learn more from dr. nouhan's plastic sugergy decoded podcast
The mechanism of aging all boils down to keeping our mitochondria and DNA clean, healthy, and functional.
In addition to eating healthy, moving regularly, and staying connected in your community, new scientific discoveries in longevity can help us not only live longer but better, healthier, and with more joy!
Join Tina Sprikle for THE BIG REWIND, a 3-part series exploring the reasons why we age and what we can do about it.
All workshops take place in-person from 2:00-3:30 pm at Centered Spirit located at 8131 Wornall Road, Kansas City, Mo. 64114. We will film each session for replay later should you have to miss the live event.
Single Workshop: $45 All three workshops: $69
@ Centered Spirit 8131 Wornall Road Kansas City, Mo 64114
workshop #1. why we age
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2022 2:00-3:30 pm
Take a deep dive into the biochemistry of aging, and longevity science, to learn how you can not only live longer but live better!
@ Centered Spirit 8131 Wornall Road Kansas City, Mo 64114
workshop#2. what we can do
Saturday, November 12, 2022 2:00-3:30 pm
The importance of nutrition, meal timing, exercise, and targeted supplementation and peptide therapy for slowing down and reversing aging with special guest Dr. Rahul Kapur
@ Centered Spirit 8131 Wornall Road Kansas City, Mo 64114
ask the surgeon
Saturday, January 14, 2023 2:00-3:30 pm
You’re eating right, exercising and working your anti-aging protocol but still want a fresher face in the mirror. Join special guest Dr. Regina Nouhan as she answers your questions about options for facial cosmetic surgery.
Each 90-minute workshop provides participants with:
The latest longevity research education
Actionable steps to improve your health, slow and or reverse aging
Workshop handout and Ebook
Resources links and service providers
Optional follow-up resource texts
until we get this party started
why we age -
The resources listed here are to help you increase mindfulness and reduce stress, tension, and anxiety.
This is a dynamic list so please share your favorite tips and resources by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Click on pictures to link to the specific resource.
The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.
Getting Past Your Past by Francine Shapiro
Heart Minded by Sarah Blondin
Mindful Self Compassion by Kristin Neff /Christopher Germer
The Tapping Solution by Nick Ortner
The Heart Math Solution by Doc Childre and Howard Martin
What Lurks in the Woods by our very own Nicole Bell
Get it! Read it!
Heart Math Website
Heart Math/Inner Balance
Touchpoint Solution Bi-lateral Buzzies for EMDR
Pinch me Therapy Dough
Insight Timer Meditation App
Think Up Positive Affirmation App
Living Centered Podcast
Transforming Trauma Podcast
Live Awake Podcast
Michael Singer Podcast
Sarah Blondin is one of my favorite meditation teachers. Focusing on self-love, and compassion, Sarah’s warm and gentle approach make her meditations especially nurturing.
Meditations vary in length and focus.
Dakota is an international teacher, author, speaker, and the founder of Gaia Wisdom School. Trained in Shamanic Breathwork, Trance Dance, Shamanic Soul Coaching, Celebrant, and Meditation, Dakota’s guided sessions take you to another realm of presence and creativity.
Dr. Kristin Neff is a pioneer in the field of self-compassion research and author of many books on the topic.
Her insight timer library is a treasure trove of talks and guided meditations.
Greetings WILD IN MONTANA Retreat participants! You will be in Montana, hosted at the incomparable B Bar Ranch in just a few days. I thought it might be fun to learn more about the ranch, its mission, unique landscape, and beauty, as you travel this way. Taking a moment to envision your retreat and what you’d like to get out of it is always good!
welcome to the b bar
The B Bar Ranch, established in 1906, preserves and protects the land, natural resources, and property values within the unique landscape in the Tom Miner Basin.
A place of spectacular beauty, the B Bar ranch is committed to protecting its unique and extraordinary environment in perpetuity.
The B Bar supports this deeply satisfying way of life and stewardship in the way they operate the ranch:
Raising Ancient White Park cattle (organic grass-fed grass-finished beef)
Embracing ecologically responsible practices
Maintaining organic certification of the land, cattle, and gardens
Practicing low-stress livestock management
Providing habitat and allowing free passage for the myriad of wildlife species that reside on or travel through the ranch
Sharing what they do with others who are interested in our activities and the values that underlie them
The Land and Natural Resources
The ranch is a part of a unique and fragile ecosystem and a place of exceptional beauty.
They respect and maintain its splendor by managing the natural resource base for sustainability and diversity, and strive to live in harmony and balance with its many native floral and faunal inhabitants.
They continuously evaluate how their management practices impact native species as to how they influence neighboring habitats, including U.S. Forest Service lands, other working ranches, and Yellowstone National Park.
The distinct assortment of vegetation and topography on the ranch provides important habitat for most forms of wildlife found in neighboring Yellowstone National Park.
Elk, white-tail and mule deer, moose, grizzly and black bear, wolves, coyotes, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, bobcat, mountain lions, and numerous small mammals roam the ranch’s 9,000 acres and freely traverse the six-mile boundary with Yellowstone Park.
Respecting the role of established predator/prey relationships and the importance of tempering activities with regard to native wildlife populations, they endeavor to live without conflict with their wildlife neighbors.
Traditional bird migration patterns include the flyways above the B Bar. More than 75 bird species either journey through or reside year-round on the ranch. We are fortunate to regularly observe sandhill cranes, great blue herons, great-horned owls, and bald and golden eagles.
We also see red-tail and rough-legged hawks, Clark’s nutcrackers, western meadowlarks, black-billed magpies, mountain bluebirds, ruffed and blue grouse, gray and Steller’s jays, western tanagers, mountain chickadees, pine grosbeaks, Canada geese, trumpeter swans, and various ducks and other waterfowl.
Tom Miner Creek provides precious habitat for its rare community of native Yellowstone cutthroat trout and a growing population of beavers.
The cattle on the b bar
Ancient White Park Cattle
Originally imported from England just before WWII, the B Bar Ranch purchased a bull and several female Ancient White Park cattle to begin their own herd in 1989.
Ancient White Parks have white coats with colored points (ears, feet and muzzles) that are usually black but occasionally red. Some of the cattle are mottled or solid black, expressing a recessive gene for color that runs through the population.
The cows frequently have upswept lyre-shaped horns that continue to twist as the animal’s age. The bulls typically have shorter horns that curve forward with age in a flat arc.
The bulls reach mature weights of 1500 to 1800 pounds. They are extremely active and alert cattle with large flight zones that require careful handling. They are aggressive grazers and calve with exceptional ease.
The ranch has grown its own herd to a size that now allows for the establishment of new herds throughout North America.
Through the Ancient White Park Cattle Society of North America, they are maintaining the registration of offspring and producing herd books at regular intervals in addition to the registrations maintained with the White Park Cattle Society in Britain.
With an abundance of native, bio-diverse grasses and wildlife active, the B Bar goes to great lengths to protect this ecosystem.
They manage cattle activity to imitate that of wildlife while limiting their competition for resources.
They assure that the land is certified organic each year.
They streamline energy and water use whenever possible with gravity-fed irrigation systems, decreased labor energy, and vigilant use of high-efficiency light bulbs, consolidates trips to down and carpooling.
They also use current green guest laundry service practices, utilize gentle cleaning products, recycle materials and equipment, and compost kitchen and garden waste.
Visitors are encouraged to participate in our recycling efforts by using the containers placed in common areas and cabins and rooms.
The B Bar’s owners have welcomed non-profit organizations to make use of the ranch guest facilities since they bought it in 1978.
Known for their long-standing philanthropic activity, the owners have opened up their ranch home to select non-profit groups and guests whose goals synch with their agricultural, environmental, and social goals.
It’s especially rewarding how many people find themselves transformed by their experiences at the B Bar.
I’m excited about our time together in this amazing landscape, so rich in history, and tradition.
Your time on the ranch will be a magical time of rest, renewal, fun, and adventure,
b bar magic
By coming on this retreat, you have already set an intention to step outside your comfort zone and explore the great outdoors.
What other adventures, experiences, or ah-ha moments would you like to get out of your time on the ranch?
Challenging yourself through hiking, riding, rafting? Wildlife viewing, sitting on your front porch, writing, reading, or simply resting?
All of these experiences are yours to explore, embrace and delight in. What is your WILD in Montana adventure?
With love and excitement,
The view from the overlook trail on the B Bar Ranch.
Unchanged:Restore your mind and body as Tom and Tina lead you through daily yoga and mindful movement designed to both inspire and calm the senses.
Coming home to your body through guided movement and awareness is a powerful and healing act of self-love.
Taking this time to move inward to reconnect your head and heart, will strengthen your movement practice or help you begin one.
“You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather..” ~Pema Chodron
Unchanged:Stillness is a practice we cultivate to feel fully present and alive. In this retreat, you’ll have ample opportunity to drop down and drop inward with three-daily meditation practice sessions.
You’ll be amazed how quickly you’ll love this practice and the peace and comfort it brings to you.
Tom is an excellent meditation teacher, skillfully weaving humor, storytelling, and music to uplift and inspire your practice at Timber Creek and beyond.
Unchanged:Keeping a journal can be transformational. It’s a decisive practice that allows us to create a safe place to record and express our feelings, emotions, and deeply held desires.
If this is something you’d like to explore, Tina will provide guided journal prompts to make the process accessible and fun.
Keeping a journal can help access the music and voice of your true emotion.
For some, a journal is considered a best friend.
“All serious daring starts within.” ~Eudora Welty
Unchanged: Unchanged: Unchanged:
Unchanged:Let yourself sink into the luxurious comfort and care of Timber Creek Retreat House. Just one hour south of Kansas City, you’ll feel you’ve escaped to a magical and magnificent lodge in the woods.
Surrounded by eighty acres of wooded trails and wildlife, Timber Creek is a refuge from life’s daily stresses with no detail of your comfort overlooked.
Take a nap in your king-sized bed, slip into a good book by a cozy fire, treat yourself to a massage or a lazy walk in the trees, or enjoy the serenity of the beautiful meditation room.
Timber Creek was conceived and created with one goal in mind: your comfort and well-being.
My love of nature started in childhood as my parents insisted their three children play outdoors as much as possible. While we weren’t allowed to run wild, (you never wanted to hear my Mom’s frenetic bell ring because you were somewhere you weren’t supposed to be), we were given the freedom to spend hours rolling around in the grass, climbing trees, dancing in the driveway, or playing a mean game of tug of war.
Perhaps it was because my parents just wanted us out of the house, or maybe they knew intuitively what scientific studies reinforce today: Nature is a powerful ally and healing force for our mind and body.
nature is good for us
We know that spending time in nature makes us feel good, but does it measurably affect our well-being? Study after study has shown the answer is yes.
Studies show that being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, stress, and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, but also contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.
According to health researchers Stamatkis and Mitchell, nature not only improves the quality of our lives but the length of them as well. And a study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology in 2018 found that spending as little as five minutes outdoors was linked to a significant mood boost.
Research conducted in hospitals, offices, and schools has found that even a simple plant in a room can have a significant impact on stress and anxiety.
nature is our happy place
Our affinity toward nature is genetic and deep-rooted in evolution. For example, have you ever wondered why most people prefer to book accommodations that have a great view from the balcony or the terrace? Why patients who get a natural view from their hospital bed recover sooner than others? Or why we crave downtime in nature when stress takes it’s toll on our zen.
Nature’s Impact on our Health
Who would have thought that a little time with the flowers and trees can actually improve your memory? The University of Michigan conducted a study that revealed students who regularly went for a nature walk actually had a better time retaining information.
Nature improves short term memory. Nature also helps us cope with pain. Because we are genetically programmed to find trees, plants, water, and other nature elements engrossing, nature can distract us from pain and discomfort.
Nature reduces stress hormones. In a world flooded by screens, sometimes just taking the time to unplug and go outside can do wonders for reducing stress. Nature has a calming effect on our brains, even if it means going outside for just five minutes each day. As an added bonus, outdoor exercise, like going for a walk, hiking, and so forth, gets the blood flowing and heart pumping, another way to lower stress levels.
Nature increases our levels of Vitamin D. Sure, too much sun can damage the skin and possibly lead to cancer. That being said, studies show that getting between 15 to 20 minutes a day of sunshine will allow your body to absorb vitamin D, which helps strengthen bones and reduce the risk of cancer, type 1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.
Nature improves our immune system. Research has shown that going outdoors and getting enough sunlight can help boost the immune system. Make sure to take a little stroll outside or enjoy a bit of fun outdoors to help fight disease and stay healthy.
Nature reduces inflammation. Inflammation in the body can lead to all sorts of disorders, from depression and cancer to autoimmune diseases. A study demonstrated that participants who spent a bit of time each week walking in the woods experienced lower levels of inflammation in the body.
Nature inspires creativity. Nature comes in so many colors, from orange-sky sunsets to seafoam green waters and rose-colored gardens. Spending time outside gives a chance to get inspired by all the gorgeous sights, smells, and sounds of the outdoors. Science backs that up, too, showing that spending time outside actually helps get our creative juices flowing.
Nature improves vision. We spend a lot of time looking at screens, which can damage eyesight. Going outside gives our eyes a break from staring at a computer, television, or smartphone. Australian scientists even found that children who spend time outdoors reduce the risk of developing myopia later in life.
Nature improves our sleep. Spending time in natural light helps our bodies better regulate sleep patterns. When the sun goes down, our brains will release the right levels of melatonin to help get a good night’s sleep.
Nature increases feelings of happiness. You can find all kinds of different activities outdoors for all fitness levels and preferences. Whether it means going for a swim in the sea, taking the dog for a walk in the park, or mountain biking, finding outdoor activities that we enjoy will boost your mood and help you to feel happier. Plus spending time in nature promotes mental well-being.
Nature can open the door to a deeper sense of spirituality. A long walk in nature on your own gives a chance to clear the mind and can even count as a type of meditation. Spending time in nature helps us live in the moment as we breathe in the air, listen to the sound of the birds chirping, or feel the grass on our feet.
Nature can even teach valuable lessons and reveal metaphors to help us connect with our spirituality. The changes of the season reflect the peaks and valleys we go through in life. Meanwhile, a coursing river reminds us of our need to “go with the flow” and navigate the waters of life, so to speak.
Nature’s generous lessons are all around us when we slow down enough to take notice.
take a walk, skip the pill
A walk in the fresh air, the sun on our skin, bare feet in the sand: spending time outside can bring so many small pleasures, making us feel refreshed and revived. Whether it means sitting in your backyard garden sipping a cold iced tea or going for a thrilling white water rafting adventure, time in nature has the power to heal, inspire, and guide you daily.
Need some nature?
Join Tina Sprinkle and Lisa Looy for an amazing adventure on their WILD IN MONTANA Retreat. Daily meditation, guided hikes, horseback riding, and more. Space is limited so don’t delay! This retreat will sell out.
I came across this reading in a mindfulness group that I am part of led by Sean Fargo. I am a little jaded on setting resolutions myself since I have not only set so many myself that fizzled, but watched countless clients do the same.
Reading how a “resolution” is different than an “intention” changed my perspective enough to want to share. Perhaps it’s just my current place in life, but setting an intention for this new year feels more intuitive and grounded than setting a challenge or resolution. What about you?
Here’s the article.
Setting new year’s resolutions is something that many of us do as the end of December approaches. In truth, however, we can set resolutions for ourselves at any time of the year. We need not wait until January rolls around.
But what is a resolution? And how do resolutions differ from intentions? The difference may seem to be semantic, but new year’s resolutions and new year’s intentions hold important distinctions.
New year’s resolutions are often:
For example: “I resolve to exercise four times per week in the new year.”
On the other hand, new year’s intentions are more typically:
For example: “I intend to cultivate more self-compassion in the year ahead of me.”
This example highlights the qualitative nature of intentions versus resolutions. By focusing on the quality or energy we long to embody or experience, we open ourselves to the many ways this might manifest.
Resolutions and intentions each have their place. At certain times of life, we may feel more drawn to one or the other. Take a moment’s pause now to consider:
What type of new year’s practice makes most sense for you in this moment? Do you wish to set an intention, a resolution, or some kind of hybrid?
What do you want for yourself in 2021? Please share in comments below or on my FB page!
Maybe it’s because I’ve been in the fitness industry for 40 years, or maybe because I’ve been on the planet over sixty, but I’m not keen on New Year’s Resolutions. Wanting to be a better partner, parent, co-worker, or steward of world peace is admirable, but why wait until January 1st to begin?
When I think about my own transformative beginnings, not a one sprang from resolution, new year’s or otherwise. If that sounds tragic, it’s not. My beginnings usually came in the form of divorce, job loss, death, and illness. They were difficult, messy, and painful. My reactions, denial, resistance, or feeling victimized made no difference. Spirit has taught me the only way to transform an ending into a beginning is a one-day endeavor called “allowing.”
At 10:32 am on Wednesday, May 17th, 2017, one of those opportunities literally dropped from the sky.
Our neighbor’s 120 foot oak tree chose that precise moment to come crashing down on our home.
I was in the kitchen, in the center of our little house, when I felt something resembling a train wreck.
I ran outside to find my dog Jack staring back in alarm. It was a bright, sunny, windless morning so we were both confused.
“It must have been a transformer,” I explain to Jack, who’s already forgotten it.
When I went back inside, I noticed the front of the house was weirdly dark. I went to the front door and opened it. A swarm of neighbors rushed towards me.
“Are you okay? Is anyone hurt?” They all said at once.
I just stared at them. “Yeah, I’m okay. Why? Did you hear it, too?”
One of them waved uncomfortably for me to turn around. “Uh, that,” she said.
Somehow, I’d missed the air thick with dust, the bedroom door blown off its hinges, the mangled metal air vent, and the gaping skylight created by the limb now piercing the roof.
For context: 2017 was a shit year for Herb and me. He got very sick, very fast with mysterious and scary illness. This necessitated moving to a hotel for three months to have our home remediated for mold. And this day, after celebrating just three days back home, our bedroom, the last oasis, was destroyed.
I choked and coughed, stomped my feet and pumped my fists, “Okay God! I’ve had it with you! It’s God (3) and Tina Zip! That’s not fair! That’s not okay! What the hell is WRONG with you?”
The next few days were surreal. In shock, I could only manage the most necessary tasks: deal with the insurance company, go to the grocery, get Herb’s medications.
But by Friday I’d come out of the ether in an extremely hateful mood. Angry and indignant, I looked for someone, anyone, to knock the chip off my shoulder just so I’d have the excuse to clock them. I cussed and swore at stupid drivers on the road. I glared at strangers in the grocery store. I flipped off a bus driver and honked at an old person. I was rude to friends who sought to console me.
As it turns out the tree had root rot. You’d never known it took look at it- tall, regal, strong, full with leaves. But all it took was a strong gust of wind on a sunny day in May to send it toppling, and me along with it.
It took me a while to upright myself and longer still to regain faith in my roots, but through a circuitous route that took me to a jungle cabin in Belize, I stopped finally stopped shouting long enough to listen.
I made some hard decisions in that cabin, decisions that were unwelcome but needed which lead to larger transitions built solely on faith.
“Allow,” Spirit coaxed, “then, act.”
Now, nearly three years later, my life feels like an open door, beckoning me to a delightfully unknown future.
As we look forward to a promising 2021, I sincerely hope a tree doesn’t fall on your house. But, if it does, be sure to look for the sunlight streaming in through the ruins.