Stress Hack: The Best 20 Minutes You’ll Spend Today

Leave Stress Behind – Enjoy Nature

Taking at least 20 minutes out of your day to stroll or sit in a place that makes you feel in contact with nature will significantly lower your stress hormone levels. That’s the finding of a study that has established for the first time the most effective dose of an urban nature experience. Healthcare practitioners can use this discovery to prescribe ‘nature-pills’ in the knowledge that they have a real measurable effect.


A Song to Nobody ~ Thomas Merton

Song for Nobody 

Thomas Merton

A yellow flower
(Light and spirit)
Sings by itself
For nobody.
A golden spirit
(Light and emptiness)
Sings without a word
By itself.
Let no one touch this gentle sun
In whose dark eye
Someone is awake.
(No light, no gold, no name, no color
And no thought:
O, wide awake!)
A golden heaven
Sings by itself
A song to nobody.

Stress Hack: Enjoy Nature’s Free Sound Machine

Nature Plays Its Symphony

While you walk in nature, leave your electronics behind and listen to the melodies nature has to offer: babbling brooks, bird songs, wind whistling through the trees and the scurrying of unseen animals through the canopy. It’s a lot more relaxing than the honking horns and text message alerts you’re used to, and it offers the opportunity to practice some meditative mindfulness in your tranquil surroundings.

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Stress Hack: Get Lost in the Forest

A Peaceful Walk Leads to a Peace-filled Life

Walking is good for you, but not all walks are created equal. Cruising the urban streets doesn’t provide the same mental boost as hiking a local trail or feeling the sandy beach between your toes. You don’t have to have a specific destination in mind, either – your goal isn’t to hike X miles, but to aimlessly immerse yourself in the natural world around you.3 The Japanese call this “forest bathing” and it can rejuvenate a weary mind.4

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The Song of Hiawatha ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Excerpt from "The Song of Hiawatha"

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"O my children! my poor children!
Listen to the words of wisdom,
Listen to the words of warning,
From the lips of the Great Spirit,
From the Master of Life, who made you!
"I have given you lands to hunt in,
I have given you streams to fish in,
I have given you bear and bison,
I have given you roe and reindeer,
I have given you brant and beaver,
Filled the marshes full of wild-fowl,
Filled the rivers full of fishes:
Why then are you not contented?
Why then will you hunt each other?
"I am weary of your quarrels,
Weary of your wars and bloodshed,
Weary of your prayers for vengeance,
Of your wranglings and dissensions;
All your strength is in your union,
All your danger is in discord;
Therefore be at peace henceforward,
And as brothers live together.


My Kingdom ~ Louisa May Alcott

My Kingdom


Louisa May Alcott


Sitting to-day in the sunshine, 
That touched me with fingers of love, 
I thought of the manifold blessings
God scatters on earth, from above; 
And they seemed, as I numbered them over, 
Far more than we merit, or need, 
And all that we lack is the angels
To make earth a heaven indeed.
The winter brings long, pleasant evenings, 
The spring brings a promise of flowers
That summer breathes to fruition, 
And autumn brings glad, golden hours.
The woodlands re-echo with music, 
The moonbeams ensilver the sea; 
There is sunlight and beauty about us, 
And the world is as fair as can be.
But mortals are always complaining, 
Each one thinks his own a sad lot; 
And forgetting the good things about him, 
Goes mourning for those he has not.
Instead of the star-spangled heavens, 
We look on the dust at our feet; 
We drain out the cup that is bitter, 
Forgetting the one that is sweet.
We mourn o’er the thorn in the flower, 
Forgetting its odour and bloom; 
We pass by a garden of blossoms, 
To weep o’er the dust of the tomb.
There are blessings unnumbered about us, –
Like the leaves of the forest they grow; 
And the fault is our own – not the Giver’s –
That we have not an Eden below.




Spirit That Form’d This Scene ~ Walt Whitman

Spirit That Form’d This Scene


Walt Whitman


SPIRIT that form’d this scene, 
These tumbled rock-piles grim and red, 
These reckless heaven-ambitious peaks, 
These gorges, turbulent-clear streams, this naked freshness, 
These formless wild arrays, for reasons of their own,
I know thee, savage spirit-we have communed together, 
Mine too such wild arrays, for reasons of their own; 
Was’t charged against my chants they had forgotten art? 
To fuse within themselves its rules precise and delicatesse? 
The lyrist’s measur’d beat, the wrought-out temple’s grace-column and
polish’d arch forgot?
But thou that revelest here-spirit that form’d this scene, 
They have remember’d thee. SPIRIT that form’d this scene, 
These tumbled rock-piles grim and red, 
These reckless heaven-ambitious peaks, 
These gorges, turbulent-clear streams, this naked freshness, 
These formless wild arrays, for reasons of their own,
I know thee, savage spirit-we have communed together, 
Mine too such wild arrays, for reasons of their own; 
Was’t charged against my chants they had forgotten art? 
To fuse within themselves its rules precise and delicatesse? 
The lyrist’s measur’d beat, the wrought-out temple’s grace-column and
polish’d arch forgot?
But thou that revelest here-spirit that form’d this scene, 
They have remember’d thee.


Longevity Tip ~ Enjoy the Outdoors

Recent studies have shown that there is longer life expectancy associated with spending time outdoors. Better air quality, found in areas with more vegetation, is known to increase longevity. Being close to parks and nature trails can also encourage exercise, which helps maintain heart health. Time spent outside also increases social engagement and can improve mental health.

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The Gladness of Nature ~ William Cullen Bryant

The Gladness of Nature

IS this a time to be cloudy and sad, 
When our mother Nature laughs around; 
When even the deep blue heavens look glad, 
And gladness breathes from the blossoming ground?
There are notes of joy from the hang-bird and wren, 
And the gossip of swallows through all the sky; 
The ground-squirrel gaily chirps by his den, 
And the wilding bee hums merrily by.
The clouds are at play in the azure space, 
And their shadows at play on the bright green vale, 
And here they stretch to the frolic chase, 
And there they roll on the easy gale.
There’s a dance of leaves in that aspen bower, 
There’s a titter of winds in that beechen tree, 
There’s a smile on the fruit, and a smile on the flower, 
And a laugh from the brook that runs to the sea.
And look at the broad-faced sun, how he smiles 
On the dewy earth that smiles in his ray, 
On the leaping waters and gay young isles; 
Ay, look, and he’ll smile thy gloom away.

William Cullen Bryant