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Nature as an Rx for stress reduction

I went for a power walk at the lake near my home. It was cold and damp after the low temps, cloudiness and rainfall of the past two days. I didn't really want to go but knew I needed to. So I did.

Somewhere between my pounding heart and burning gluts, I realized how much I crave this environment that naturally and simultaneously pushes my body to new heights, feeds my senses, clears my head, and calms my soul. It's the ultimate in stress reduction. And being present in nature opens the spirit to deep inner healing and inspiration. 

The peacefulness of the fog slowly lifting off the still lake, the beautiful carpet of bright green moss, the sweet aroma of randomly fallen trees, the rhythmic crunch of gravel beneath my feet, the silence of birds gliding effortlessly on the crisp air overhead, the energetic sound of water gushing through the dam, and the fresh scent of woods and earth stinging my nostrils are experiences absent at even the best of gyms, health clubs and fitness centers. 

So, I began thinking about why I don't come here regularly or exercise consistently. Ultimately, it comes down to:

FEAR. Not wanting to make the commitment to being physical. Even though my body screams (literally) to be fed in this way, I tend to live mostly in my head. 

LACK OF MOTIVATION. For me, this one comes from never having to be physical to maintain my health. For too long I've been 'getting by' on my good genes. Weight hasn't been an issue. Flexibility and mobility have been stellar. Stress has been manageable. Until now. Aging comes with a whole new set of rules.

PROCRASTINATION. Being too lazy to make physical fitness a part of my routine, always putting off exercise until 'tomorrow', distracting myself with non-essential tasks and convincing myself that taking care of self in one isolated area (like eating well) is good enough. 

COMPLACENCY. The lull of satisfaction with the status quo is probably the worst. The danger is that there can be serious consequences (actual dangers and deficiencies) that become unavoidable, even if one is unaware. Often I know know I'm settling but allow fear, lack of motivation and procrastination to paralyze me.

As a health coach, I know all too well how important regular movement, centering and stress reduction are to health and well-being. So here are 3 things I am doing to strengthen this part of my self care ...

  • I acknowledge that consistent fitness is a challenge for me
  • I am replacing excuses with action (read that: Just Do It)
  • I am working with a health coach for support and accountability

What are 3 things you know you could do for yourself today?

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Reader Comments (5)

I can relate to your obstacles. The three things I could be doing for myself today are get from in front of the computer, take a walk, and eat better. Thanks for encouraging me to examine myself.
March 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoan B.
I am totally with you on this. I started walking about a month ago because I had too many running thoughts and I've picked up some weight since being in school. But I can think of every reason in the book on why I can make it a routine for me. Fortunately, I decided that none of my excuses were acceptable and I had to make a choice about what was important. I've been power-walking about 4-5 days a week for at least a few weeks now.
May 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterdBSM
"But I can think of every reason in the book on why I can make it a routine for me. "

I meant, why I can NOT...
May 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterdBSM
Gotcha dBSM. It's so easy to make the excuses. Bottom line is you did exactly what we all have to do: make the decision about what is most important, and then act on it. Thanks for sharing your insight with us. I wish you well and continued walking for many years to come. Be well!
May 24, 2010 | Registered CommenterQiy
Joan, your 3 things inspired me yesterday. I got away from my computer for almost the entire day and worked on other things that are important to me. Thank you!
May 24, 2010 | Registered CommenterQiy

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