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Sustainable wellbeing and green living

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Passing Along Wisdom and Cultural Heritage

A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” – Marcus Garvey

Wisdom and cultural heritage are inherited and passed down from generation to generation. The knowledge and cultural heritage that is passed down creates a sense of belonging and strengthens cultural ties between generations.

Oral traditions, skills, belongings, languages, social practices, and natural environments are all part of cultural heritage and wisdom. They are often learned from previous generations and are considered an integral part of our identity.

The elements that are shared between generations represent the memories and knowledge of the past, as well as their importance in the present moment and in the future. Much of our knowledge of how to live sustainably originates in the principles and wisdom passed down from our ancestors.

Traditions and nuggets of wisdom are passed down not by accident, but because they are deemed...

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What Nature Does for our Bodies and Minds

We seek out nature for many reasons – for recreation, quiet and solitude, exercise, nature views, and plenty more. But did you know that nature has measurable positive effects on our physiological and psychological wellbeing?

You may have noticed that spending time in the outdoors leaves you feeling refreshed with an improved mood. You might even find yourself seeking out nature during times when you are stressed, upset, or feeling under the weather.

The biophilia hypothesis is the idea that humans have an innate tendency to seek connections and associate with nature. The term biophilia literally translates to “love of life.” American biologist Edward O. Wilson proposed in his work Biophilia (1984) that the tendency for humans seek out life and lifelike processes is biologically ingrained.

Throughout the course of our evolution, the natural environment has been conducive to our survival and enhanced our physical, emotional, and intellectual fitness. We depended...

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How to use Forest Bathing to Manage Eco-anxiety

It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.” - Robert Louis Stevenson

Forest bathing is a mental and physical wellbeing exercise that emerged in Japan in the 1980s. The Japanese name, shinrin-yoku, can be directly translated into the English words “forest” and “bath.”

This exercise, as its name suggests, involves immersing yourself in nature and connecting to your surroundings through sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. Unlike many organized outdoor activities that involve physical exercises such as hiking, sports, swimming, or jogging, forest bathing only requires your presence in nature.

Although forest bathing may seem intuitive, our growing disconnect from nature means that we are not taking the time to be present in nature as often as we should.

And...

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How yoga helps you relate to the natural world

"Yoga makes you harmonious with nature and teaches you to be joyfully curious about your inner world." - Debasish Mridha

Yoga is a mind-body practice that has been around for thousands of years and continues to be a popular method of exercise and wellness today.

And good news, it is not just for the fit and flexible. There is a yoga practice for every body type and ability.

Some physical benefits of practicing yoga include increased flexibility, increased muscle tone and strength, lowered blood pressure, better posture, and improved balance.

These physical benefits are accompanied by many mental benefits as well. Yoga practices often incorporate meditation and breathing exercises in order to reduce stress, increase awareness of your body and movements, aid in sleep, and increase mental clarity.

But even beyond the physical and mental benefits, when we connect deeply with our bodies, we begin to find a new relationship to ourselves and the natural world. Our bodies are made of the...

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Raising Eco Minimalists with Laura Durenberger

This week I chat with Laura Durenberger of the Raising Eco Minimalists podcast and the blog Reduce Reuse Renew. I begin by asking her about the "renew" aspect that she covers on her blog that deals with anxiety and how this ties into her environmental actions.
 
Laura talks about the relationship between reducing the physical and mental clutter and how this can also help play a role in reducing anxiety. As she says, it helps by "reducing things in your life to give space for other things", which strikes me as a very intentional and meaningful approach to minimalism.
 
We talk about what living a minimalist lifestyle means, as it goes beyond just the Insta-worthy home photos, but rather, how it is a philosophy and how it can be lived out when raising young children, or even for those of us who like to help impart these values on the children in our lives.
 
 
How to Reduce Reuse and Renew
It seems odd to Laura and to many of us that these should be separate....
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Reduce your eco-anxiety with this technique

Mindfulness is a term that you are likely to hear and read about quite often. It has become a bit of a buzzword, but despite its recent popularity, mindfulness isn’t a new fad. It's actually a basic human ability that anyone can tap into. Essentially, mindfulness is the ability to centre oneself in the present moment and become aware of our actions without becoming overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

Even though you may understand the basic premise of mindfulness, it can still be difficult to achieve, and actually feel the positive impacts in your daily life, especially during stressful times (like a pandemic) or when we have other life challenges. But, this is when we actually need it most.

One of the ways mindfulness can help improve your life is through its ability to reduce stress. Mindfulness is being recommended for people going through a variety of especially stressful situations such as serious illness and can be used to also help us at least in part,...

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How the Breath Helps the Mind

Research shows that there are tangible health benefits of hitting pause on our routines and taking a few deep breaths. Our heart rate drops, blood pressure lowers almost immediately, the brain is flooded with oxygen, and our creativity increases while anxiety drops. If we do this deep breathing in nature the benefits are multiplied. We see positive effects on our immune systems and learning.
 
Studies on the health benefits of deep breathing in the forest have been explored for decades already. And you probably have already noticed this yourself, the age-old saying, “take a breath” when confronting a challenge really does help most situations.
 
 
It is what I did instinctively on September 3rd, 2013 at the age of 42 as I sat in my doctor’s office and she walked in briskly to give me the results, “it’s positive”…wait, that’s good, right? Wrong. “It is cancer”. 
 
So, I ask a few more meaningless...
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Why does gardening make us happy?

Have you noticed that spending time in nature is a great way to enhance your physical and mental wellbeing? Well, you are not alone! There is a reason that gardening and walking outdoors and spending time in nature is such a lasting activity that people keep coming back to - and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Are you growing a garden, perhaps for the first time? It turns out there are benefits to us beyond the joy of watching plants grow and reaping the harvest of our efforts. For starters gardening gives us enjoyable light physical activity and, the psychological benefits of gardening include reduced stress, increased happiness, and overall mood enhancement. To learn more about the benefits of gardening, click here!

Similarly, forest bathing - spending time immersing yourself in nature and connecting to the natural world, provides individuals with significant psychological and physiological improvements such as reduced anxiety, stress relief, decreased blood pressure and...

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Have you tried JOMO?

These days, it might feel like your entire world is online. When you’re not using your laptop or phone for work, you may often find yourself browsing the internet or scrolling through your social media news feeds. Whether you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, dating apps, your favourite news website, or all of the above, there is a good chance you spend a decent-sized chunk of your day online.

Not only can this end up being a major waste of time, but you are actually consuming and internalizing this content whether you realize it or not! Have you ever noticed that you experience an influx of negative emotions after consuming certain types of online content? Perhaps you feel like your life isn’t as exciting as your favourite social media influencers’, your extracurricular activities aren’t interesting or “on trend,” or your achievements aren’t actually that impressive. Unfortunately, the list can go on and on.

Social media...

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7 Best Calvin and Hobbes Quotes on the Meaning of Life

Do you remember and love Bill Watterson’s iconic Calvin & Hobbes comic strip? I know that my husband A.J. and I have long loved the world of the young boy Calvin and his stuffed Tiger, Hobbes. They manage to show us the world as it is - usually as they careen down a hill in a little red wagon or play a vigorous game of Calvin ball.

The insights they bring, even after multiple re-readings throughout the years have helped me sleep better at night and even feel like I can be a better human being.

In case you are unfamiliar with Calvin & Hobbes, the comic strip centres around a six-year-old boy named Calvin and his imaginary stuffed tiger named Hobbes. Together, this inseparable pair makes many observations about life, the state of the world, philosophy, and everything in between!

Calvin & Hobbes was first published on November 18, 1985 and could be found in over 2,400 different newspapers worldwide. Watterson retired in 1995, but his comics and their life lessons...

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