“Few great things in this world come without a little bit of adversity. Nothing amazing happens inside our comfort zones.”
- CEO and former Navy SEAL Brent Gleeson shares 13 habits of mentally tough people.
The scientific evidence is clear: spending time in nature is good for your health.
“Participants who went on a 90-min walk through a natural environment reported lower levels of rumination… compared with those who walked through an urban environment,” says one study.
“Experimental research has found strong evidence between exposure to natural environments and recovery from physiological stress and mental fatigue,” says another.
Then there’s the boost in mood, memory, life expectancy… the list goes on.
Social distancing may limit our activities outdoors, but then again, it’s kind of the perfect time to go and lose yourself in the fresh and spacious open air of a big, green park.
And if no big, green park is within reach, try for a small one. Or even a tiny garden. Or if you want to take the advice of embracing nature really literally you can always hug a tree. Hey, all contact with nature is good for the soul!
Spending 120 minutes or more in nature per week is optimal, but do whatever you can manage. Why not try and get out for at least a few minutes today and see how it makes you feel? We’re certain you won’t regret it.
Hack The Habit Loop
Habits are tricky things. Why is it that the good ones are so hard to form and the bad ones so hard to break?
So here’s the secret. Your habits happen in a “loop”. Each one starts with a cue, which leads to a routine, and ends with a reward.
CUE -> ROUTINE -> REWARD
Wake up tired (cue), drink a double espresso (routine), get a caffeine rush (reward). Put on gym gear (cue), do a workout (routine), feel like a badass (reward). Pick up a smartphone (cue), check social media (routine), enjoy the distraction instead of working (reward).
Recognize this loop and you’ll be able to hack it. Want to change a bad habit? Keep the cue but replace the routine with something that’s rewarding in a healthy way. So to cut back on caffeine you might hack your habit loop like this:
Wake up tired (cue), go for a brisk walk outside (routine), feel refreshed (reward).
To form new healthy habits, identify a cue, and attach a routine with a reward to it. A super-simple and effective way to do this is the scratch-off habit tracker poster. The poster provides the visual cue and the reward, helping you keep a positive habit streak.
Try it for yourself! And let us know how you are able to hack your own habits.
Lisa Nicole Bell, Podcast Host, Writer and Entrepreneur
The morning routine of Lisa Nicole Bell, award-winning writer, and host of the podcast Behind The Brilliance, is very much mentally and spiritually focused. She:
- Does 10-15 minutes of free-writing in her journal. “Starting the day by doing a brain dump allows me to get the day going with a clean slate,” she says.
- Reads a few pages of something enriching. “It might be a book on personal development, spirituality, business, or some other topic that’s relevant to my current goals. This gets my brain going and gives me a mental vitamin to digest throughout the day.”
- Prays and meditates. “On days I don’t have time to do anything else, I just pray and meditate, as I find those to be the most important components of a good start to my day.”
According to Lisa, this whole process rarely takes more than 30-45 minutes.
Why it works:
- Journaling is good for mental health. It helps us identify stressors, work through negative thoughts, and clear our minds.
- Reading something stimulating is a great way to start the day. Even if we don’t actively think about what we’ve read, it can continue to percolate beneath the surface and contribute to new or creative ideas.
- The benefits of meditation go deep and wide, from lower stress to longer attention spans
While a lot of morning routines include physical exercise, Lisa’s doesn’t. Why? Because she’s developed a routine that works for her. And that’s important. There are many elements that can make up a healthy and successful morning routine – it’s up to you to find the ones that suit you the best.
“I’ve experimented a lot over the years,” says Lisa. “At one point I was walking super early in the morning… I [also] tried exercising in the morning and didn’t enjoy it, so I went back to doing it in the early/late afternoon, which I prefer.”
How’s your morning routine looking? Have you been experimenting with different ideas? Let us know if you’ve found a balance that works for you!