Mo­ti­va­tion

As you wrap up the year, per­haps it’s time to con­sider how na­ture can trans­form you and su­per­charge your ca­reer

Destiny - - Contents - BY Ti­mothy Mau­rice Web­ster

Af­ter 15 min­utes in na­ture, you re­lax more and the pre-frontal brain and the sub­con­scious be­gin to make more con­nec­tions.

Acou­ple of years ago, I came across re­search that changed how much time I spent in na­ture. I grew up on a farm and I re­mem­ber my grand­mother telling me that in her 70 years, she’d only seen a doc­tor eight times – and those were to give birth to each of her eight chil­dren. Stud­ies show that your cancer and dis­ease-fight­ing cells in­crease by 50% when you spend three un­in­ter­rupted days in na­ture (see: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17903349). In one study, a group of healthy men had their blood tested be­fore go­ing on hol­i­day in a city like New York, USA, and an­other healthy group spent the same amount of time in the mid­dle of na­ture – sim­i­lar to a wildlife game re­serve. A month af­ter their re­turn, the group who’d spent the hol­i­day in na­ture showed a 20%+ in­crease in can­cer­fight­ing cells. By con­trast, those who’d hol­i­dayed in the con­crete jun­gle showed lit­tle to no in­crease.

I re­cently spent five straight days in a lodge en­vi­ron­ment to fin­ish writ­ing a sec­tion of a book. Af­ter the sec­ond day, once I’d set­tled in, the words be­gan to flow. I knew that be­ing in a calm en­vi­ron­ment would of­fer value to my over­all health, but I was cu­ri­ous about whether my brain was also re­ceiv­ing a boost.

In a quick Google search, re­search popped up from the world’s top re­searchers con­firm­ing this. Af­ter 15 min­utes in na­ture, the think­ing brain gives way to the sen­sory brain – which ba­si­cally means that you re­lax more and the pre-frontal brain (the “CEO” of the mind) and the sub­con­scious be­gin to make more con­nec­tions.

Es­sen­tially, na­ture was in­creas­ing my ca­pac­ity to make con­nec­tions and write from a deeper place.

How­ever, my favourite study was one con­ducted in a run­down, low-in­come neigh­bour­hood in Chicago, where half of the di­lap­i­dated build­ings in the area had trees and shrub­bery planted around them. Many feared that the trees would in­crease crime by cre­at­ing hid­ing places for felons, but the op­po­site oc­curred: not only did the in­ci­dence of both se­ri­ous and petty crimes de­crease, but so­cial co­he­sion in the neigh­bour­hood in­creased. By con­trast, the crime rate around homes where no trees or shrub­bery were planted re­mained the same.

As you set off on your year-end hol­i­day, con­sider that va­ca­tions shouldn’t be the only time you in­vest in na­ture. In fact, while you’re away, be­gin to map how you can in­cor­po­rate na­ture into your lifestyle reg­u­larly.

I call the process of ab­sorb­ing your­self in na­ture “na­ture-bathing”. En­joy ev­ery drop of it!

Web­ster is a four-times best-sell­ing author. His lat­est book, Per­sonal Brand In­tel­li­gence, ex­plores au­then­tic brand­ing. Con­nect with him at: www.tim­o­th­y­mau­rice.com or fol­low him on In­sta­gram: @in­sta­ti­mothy

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