The Mail on Sunday - You - - Editor’s Letter - @ jo_elvin @ jo_elvin

One of the best de­ci­sions my fam­ily and I have ever made has been, un­doubt­edly, to get a dog. I re­sisted for years, rea­son­ing that we couldn’t com­mit the time and en­ergy to the play­ing and sched­uled walk­ing a dog needs. My daugh­ter, how­ever, has her mother’s re­lent­less streak and two years ago, she suc­cess­fully nagged us into sub­mis­sion. These days I can’t be­lieve we waited so long. The most sur­pris­ing thing has been that while I was right that a dog is a huge com­mit­ment, it’s been a fan­tas­ti­cally en­joy­able one. I’ve been de­lighted to re­alise how great it is for my stress lev­els to be forced to take that time out. I think it’s re­sulted in prac­tis­ing my own sort of ‘mind­ful­ness’, where I get real plea­sure from be­ing ‘in the mo­ment’ watch­ing Bella (right) – a ridicu­lously cute jack rus­sell-shih tzu cross – frolic in the park or woods near our house. I no­tice the lit­tle mo­ments, like the change of sea­sons and the sub­tle shifts of light from one day to the next. I’ve taken more ex­er­cise and had more time to my­self for quiet mo­ments of re­flec­tion and to get my thoughts in or­der be­fore an­other busy day be­gins. It was when I read our fea­ture on for­est ther­apy that it oc­curred to me: for the first time in liv­ing mem­ory, this year I haven’t had the si­nus ill­ness that nor­mally plagues me every win­ter. I can’t re­mem­ber the last time I even had a cold. Co­in­ci­dence? Maybe. But it might also be, as writer Sarah Ivens de­tails, that so much time in green spa­ces has had a huge phys­i­cal as well as men­tal ben­e­fit. I highly rec­om­mend try­ing it. (The dog, of course, is op­tional, but I rec­om­mend that, too.) Find a green space you love and set­tle down with an­other packed is­sue of YOU mag­a­zine. I hope you en­joy.

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