The latest Happiness Hotline Newsletter

I hope your September is off to a brilliant start.  For me the past month has been a whirlwind of activity; from huge interstate conferences to tiny local events, from crowded festivals to a series of meetings with the entire staff of a small start up company held under a gum tree next to a river.  Most people who know me know that I’m a big advocate of the importance of spending time in nature and I will admit that moving our meeting out of the office and down to the river was my idea.

For many of us getting away from it all, getting out of the office or out of the city and into nature makes us feel good.  We all have our own ways of getting away, some adventures are planned, some are spontaneous, some are huge events and some are more humble, but sadly for many of us, our busy lifestyles stop us from noticing that opportunities for getting away from it all are often there for us to enjoy every day.   

At a busy coffee shop recently I shared a table with 2 cyclists.  Both live and work near each other and both take the same cycle path to work.  Their daily commute is about 20km’s each way.  I asked them about their ride.  One told me about his Strava performance tracking app, his heart rate statistics, the distance he’s travelled, his average, best and sadly worst speeds, and how, as well as thinking about getting good stats for the ride he listens to the news through his ear phones and thinks through the work day ahead as he rides.  The second cyclist told me how, 2 days ago, he saw a family of roos next to the path, and a couple of months ago he stopped to watch a wombat. He shared that when it rains the branches of the gum trees droop close to the path and sometimes he has to duck to avoid them and that he often sees flocks of galahs and hears kookaburra calls.  Then he added that he likes to head out 15 minutes before sunrise because catching the sun rising as he comes over one particular hill is a stunning way to start to the day.  He said that he immerses himself in the sights and sounds of the journey, no Strava, no earphones, no thinking about the day ahead, just him, his bike, and nature.  2 cyclists, same ride, totally different experiences, one fully immersed in the stats of his ride and the needs of the day ahead, the other fully immersed in nature.

Recent research has shown that spending time in nature has a positive impact on our physical and mental health and well-being.  As little as 20 minutes a day in a natural environment can reduce stress, boost the immune system, increase both physical and mental energy levels, improve concentration, sharpen thinking skills and improve creativity, but apparently, to reap the benefits, we have to be mindful of the experience.  Cyclist 2, it seems, is onto something.

For those of us who live in big cities or crowded suburbs our adventures into nature shouldn’t be reserved for those times when we can get out of town.  Each and every day, whether I'm working in my own city or traveling to some distant place, I always spend time in a park or garden.  I seek out places where I can sit beneath the branches of a tree and let go of the pressures of the day, a place where I can take time to calm my body and mind, a place where I can be totally mindful of the peace and tranquility of the natural environment.    

This month you might like to check out your local park or find a local place of nature that works for you.  You might like to think about how you can make taking time to be both physically and mindfully immersed in nature a part of your daily routine, no strava, no phone, no thoughts of things that need doing.  Who knows, you might even hear a kookaburra. 

For those of you who aren't somewhere where a kookaburra is going to surprise you with it's laugh you might like to check out this you tube clip - Laughing Kookaburra

This month I’m looking forward to sharing laughter, resilience and mindfulness programs with a range of clients both here in Melbourne and in Sydney and you never know, I might just see you in a park somewhere.

Keep smiling.    

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Tailoring inspirational workshops and presentations that increase passion, purpose and profit by building health, well-being, resilience and team cohesion through laughter, humour, Laughter Yoga and Power Break Meditation.

 

 

 

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