Most of the low-carbers I know end up experimenting with intermittent fasting at some point in their...
The guy who kayaks and sets up camp along the same river each year. The woman who gets through the first year after her husband’s death one nightly hot bath at a time. The girl who brings her thoughts to the ocean each evening before sunset. The boy who throws rocks in the lake every day. The older couple who fall asleep to the sound of the waves. When was the last time you spent a period of time next to (or in) water? Maybe it was a week, or maybe it was ten minutes. Chances are, no matter how little time it was, it changed you somehow. It shifted your mood. It relaxed your thoughts. It softened the edges of your day, and you left at least somewhat revived.Read More
Most people like being surrounded by nature. Even if it’s just a walk through a suburban city park or puttering about in a backyard garden, we’re drawn to green spaces filled with grass, trees, and leafy vegetation. They make us feel better. But the way we describe the effects of green space is all very amorphous and abstract and general, isn’t it? We “feel good” sitting on the grass. “It’s nice” to take a walk along a forest path. The office “doesn’t feel right” without a potted plant on the desk. Those sorts of benefits are great on a subjective level for the people experiencing them, but they aren’t very persuasive to others. If you want your ambivalent spouse to help grow the big garden you’ve always wanted, or your skeptical friends to start going on hikes with you, more specific and measurable reasons might be just the ticket.
So let’s dig deeper. Let’s explore the specific ways in which green spaces improve our lives:Read More
Our jobs define us, for better or worse. When we’re out at a party and someone asks “What do you do?” we don’t talk about our love of Eastern European history or our kite-flying or the workout regimen we’ve recently put together. We talk about how we make money – our job, our work – probably because it’s only natural to focus on the activities that allow us to eat, have a roof over our heads, and stay relatively clothed. But it’s also because work is the single biggest time sucker in our lives. The average American adult with kids and a job spends nearly 9 hours per day engaged in work-related activities, more than time spent sleep, leisure, or eating.Read More
A friend called this week after returning from a two week trip to the North Woods. An IT person who works in a large metropolitan city, he was grateful for the off-the-grid escape. “You forget how much the noise and traffic and technology and busyness get to you until you take a real break totally disconnected from it all,” he said. “I tell ya, by the end of the trip I felt totally realigned. I was sleeping better. I did a ton of hiking, but I rested a lot and just enjoyed socializing and watching the lake. I was calm and not fumbling every five minutes for my phone, which didn’t really work anyway, to distract me. I could focus and enjoy the silence. By the time we left, I felt like I was pared down to who I was again.” It’s amazing what two weeks can do – in the right environment, I think. As he described the trip’s setting and sounds, I couldn’t help but think about the elixir time in wilderness is – and how it’s the most obvious thing in the world but perhaps one of the least appreciated. He couldn’t wait to get back and was already planning the next trip, swearing he’d never again deprive himself of “needed time” in the middle of wilderness nowhere. I know exactly what he meant.Read More
I’m not sure exactly why January gets all the hoopla here. When it comes to change, it seems like winter (all right, not here in Southern California) might be the most difficult time of year for some people to take on serious change. Sure, after the excess of the holiday season people are feeling penitent. They’re also perhaps ready to accept some quiet, “inward” time after the social overkill of the previous weeks. And, of course, it’s cultural sentiment to look back fondly on the year, clink the glasses at midnight and envision a beautiful, better year ahead – a vision that holds our collective attention for about a week. Well-intentioned as it is, New Year’s motivation is too often a flash in the pan. Maybe little wonder. The winter weeks that follow – truly brutal in some areas of the country – can be as inspiring as scraping your windshield. While I’m all for making change whenever (Isn’t it always a good idea, regardless of the calendar?), I wonder if there isn’t something backwards about this typical scenario. Personally, I get to June and sense that a certain energy and rare enthusiasm are accessible again (not to mention the inviting weather, longer days and fresh markets). You can literally see it in people. Who doesn’t know what I mean here (those of you with standard seasons at least)? Doesn’t this seem like the perfect time to imagine something new and ambitious for yourself? Part challenge, part resolution, part bucket list, part self-experiment? Humor me on this path for a bit….Read More
Many of society’s favorite psychoactive compounds, both legal and illegal, work by hijacking our own neurotransmitters and brain receptor sites. In other words, they aren’t creating something out of nothing nor are they necessarily imposing an alien influence. They only work because our brains are set up to get high and feel pleasure.
Why does pleasure exist? Pleasure is the carrot dangled by the body to get us to do the things we need to survive and prosper. It helps us reach important survival goals. But we’re not ascetics. Experiencing and appreciating pleasure as its own entity is necessary for true happiness and life contentment. Our genes expect us to feel good, not just do the tasks that feeling good compels us to complete.Read More