If you’re anything like me, hiking through a forest, camping in the woods or savoring a natural space is a sure-fire way to boost mood, energy and vitality. The Japanese even have a name for it, Shinrin Yoku — otherwise known as forest bathing. And they have science to back-up the physiological benefits — stress markers like cortisol, pulse rate, blood pressure, parasympathetic and sympathetic nerve activity all improve with spending time in the woods. It’s not only the Japanese who have discovered the perks of spending time among the trees, Western researchers have now established that if you want a healthy brain and more resiliency to stress, living near a forest is one of the best moves you can make. Continue reading Want to Enjoy a Long, Happy Life? Live Near Trees, Say Researchers
By Amanda Monteiro, Collective Evolution
European research from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Germany suggests that city dwellers who live near nature experience positive effects on their brains compared to their purely urban counterparts, especially on the amygdala, the brain’s integrative center for emotions, emotional behaviour, and motivation. When we think of stress or fear responses, we should be thinking of the amygdala.
This research should come as no surprise, since the physiological and psychological benefits of nature are well documented. In our article “How Walking In Nature Changes The Brain,” we explored the study led by Gregory Bratman, which suggested that being in nature can potentially change our brains and positively impact our health: Continue reading Research Shows What Living Near A Forest Can Do To The Human Brain
via Natural Blaze
Americans have an obsession with chopping down trees. Whether it’s over pruning their yards or the corporate paving of paradise to put up a parking lot, trees go down. Trees collapse during natural disasters like hurricanes and fires. In other countries, though, the presence of trees can be the difference of life or death.
A University of Vermont-led study of 300,000 children in 35 nations says kids whose watersheds have greater tree cover are less likely to experience diarrheal disease, the second leading cause of death for children under the age of five. Continue reading Trees Prevent Disease
Want to bring out the very best in yourself? Science says spend more time in nature.
Richard Ryan, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Rochester, believes communing with nature far exceeds the benefits of easing stress and improving health — it also greatly influences our values and overall behavior as we go about our daily lives. Continue reading How Spending Time in Nature Makes Us Kinder and More Generous
After five days on safari in South Africa with my mother on her “bucket list” trip, I felt inspired to write about my practice of interfacing with nature as an oracle, using my safari experience as an example. I shared my practice with several of the safari guides and park rangers I met, and after speaking to them, I wanted to offer a few more opportunities that can help you spiritualize any experience in nature, whether you’re on safari or just going for a hike in the woods. Continue reading 6 Spiritual Practices to Radically Deepen Your Experience in Nature
Have you ever noticed that our own lives are reflected in nature? That we are actually so connected to our Earth that all that exists within it can be viewed as the macrocosm of our personal development as souls?
While connecting with the Earth the other day, literally putting my hands in the soil, I had a flash of insight about what I’d been experiencing internally… Continue reading How Personal Transformation Works: Just Observe the Natural World
Part of our lot as human beings on planet earth is dominion over the plant and animal kingdoms, and as a by-product of our economic and cultural heritage, we have largely become indifferent to the suffering of animals. An indicator of the cruelest aspects of our nature.
This systemic disrespect for nature and her creatures is part of, or symptomatic of, a larger problem with modern society, the institutionalized perception that we are separate and independent of our environment. This dualism is part of the division of consciousness that is often noted in ancient texts as well as contemporary discussions of the characteristics of human consciousness. Continue reading Signs of Consciousness, Sentience and Intelligence in Nature Demand Our Respect
“In the absence of the sacred, nothing is sacred. Everything is for sale.” ~ Oren R. Lyons, Faithkeeper of the Turtle clan
When writing my latest book, I was surprised how difficult I found it to write a ‘short chapter about nature and sacredness’ for a readership that would be mainly urban. Now that the indigenous movement against the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline brought the issue to the fore, I was reminded how urgently we need to re-connect with the sacred aspect of nature, not only because we face an ecological crisis and need to stand up in vast numbers to the ever increasing destruction of natural habitat and resources driven, but also because the separation from the nature aspect of ourselves, from our earth roots and souls, is contributing extensively to the dis-connection from our own wild nature and to our mental, emotional and physical suffering and dis-enchantment. Continue reading Waking Up to the Sacred in Nature and Reclaiming Our Earth Soul
Superbugs are without a doubt a major threat affecting all health care systems. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection is caused by a type of staph bacteria that’s become resistant to many of the antibiotics used to treat ordinary staph infections. Despite attempts by new antibiotics to neutralize the effects of MRSA, none have succeeded. But nature did.
The red berries of the Brazilian peppertree — a weedy, invasive species common in Florida — contain an extract with the power to disarm dangerous antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria, scientists at Emory University have discovered.
The journal Scientific Reports is publishing the finding, made in the lab of Cassandra Quave, an assistant professor in Emory’s Center for the Study of Human Health and in the School of Medicine’s Department of Dermatology. Continue reading Nature Comes To The Rescue Again – Peppertree Disarms Most Dangerous Bacteria
Do you hear the voice of nature?
Intellectually, it is easy to understand the many reasons to change the way that we live upon our earth. Erratic and unpredictable weather, depleted soils, unsafe drinking water, deforestation and vanishing wildlife are all obvious signs that the society we have created is unsustainable.
But even with this glaring evidence in front of us, many people are still unwilling to change or even feel that there is no problem to fix. Or worst of all, they feel that they are unable to make a difference in such a big, dysfunctional society. For many, they still cling to outdated ideals and beliefs like an old security blanket, hoping if they just stay hiding beneath it, the problems will disappear. That, or they are too uncomfortable with letting go of aspects of their lives that they feel are necessary to their happiness. It all seems so much easier to carry on with business as usual. Continue reading Speak to the Trees – A Spiritual Perspective on Nature