"Nature itself is the best physician.” – Hippocrates
There’s something about time spent in nature that makes us feel better. I’m sure you’ve experienced it. Whether it’s a quick stroll around the block, stopping to watch the rustling leaves of a nearby tree, or marveling at the view on a hike, being in nature makes us feel restored. It clears our mind and helps remind us that we’re a part of something bigger than ourselves.
Time in nature is time spent outside of our various four walls and away from our multiple screens. It gives us a break from the rush of our daily lives, fosters presence and inspires awe.
There is abundant research that confirms the profoundly healing and restorative effects of nature on our mind and body. Exposure to nature:
A new meta-analysis compiling evidence from over 140 studies involving more than 290 million people from 20 countries found that spending time in, or living close to, natural green spaces: reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, and increases sleep duration.
The research on Japanese “forest bathing” suggests that health-boosting effects of being around trees (like reduced levels of cortisol, reduction in blood pressure and improved immunity) could be explained by phytoncides -- organic compounds with antibacterial properties -- released by trees.
Whether it’s the arena for physical activity that nature provides, mindfulness that it inspires, community it connects us to or microbes and plant compounds that it exposes us to, the research is clear: nature heals. And the beautiful thing is that it doesn’t take long. Another recent study reveals that just 20 minutes of contact with nature is enough time for significant decreases in cortisol.
Humans flourish in nature. And this is especially true for our children. As Richard Louv writes in Last Child in the Woods, time in nature is an essential investment in our children’s health (and our own). All of us, especially children, are spending more time indoors, which makes us feel alienated from nature and more vulnerable to negative moods and reduced attention spans. Nature-Deficit Disorder (NDD) may not be a recognized medical condition, but it’s pervasive as our rates of screen time continue to rise. As with most healthy habits, they start in childhood. It’s even more important that we inspire a love for nature while children are young so they can develop into thriving adults. Perhaps it would inspire these younger generations to be better stewards of the land to boot!
With the winter solstice behind us we know that longer days are ahead. Go outside today and rediscover that sense of wonder that nature provides. And share it with all of the kids in your life. Prescribe yourself with nature and feel restored. The beautiful thing about it is that you don’t have to go hike to a mountain peak. Any green space provides benefits to our mental and physical well-being. Whether it’s the quiet corner with a tree, neighborhood park, vegetable garden, or a peaceful place with a view of the sky and clouds above, nature is available to us all and it patiently waits.
Been inspired to write about presence lately as my son (and husband) reminds me when I am not daily. Its a challenge to attain, but a worthwhile endeavor as it benefits both the giver and receiver. Presence let's us thrive. Do you struggle with presence too? Let me know what you think!. #topnotchwellness
“If you love someone, the greatest gift you can give them is your presence" ― Thich Nhat Hanh
There are hundreds of books on how to optimize the relationship with your child and foster their development. Even more on healthy relationships and sustaining long lasting love. But there is one fundamental element to being with your child, life partner, family, and friends that cannot be read - it must be practiced. It is called presence And it's harder than it seems.
Presence occurs when we are grounded in the moment. To be present, we need to detach from our to-do's, expectations, judgements, and thoughts of the future or past. Sharing presence is a magical thing felt by both parties. It's essential for children to experience as they grow and in reality is vital for us all. Beneath our many layers we adults are in need of presence too. We need to be understood and seen. To be taken in without exception. All relationships thrive from presence.
In an age of instant information, constant feedback, and the "hit" of social stimuli our moment to moment awareness is constantly pulled from the present moment. Tack on a career that commands your attention it's easy to feel attention fatigue. This is a part of normal life -- lets take a moment to acknowledge this with self-compassion. But there are some straightforward avenues to pursue and practice presence.
Put the phone away (or develop family tech etiquette). Smartphones are an integral part of our life. They have brought so much convenience and prosperity, but heavy use of smartphones is linked to greater risk for anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Demonstrate your own mindfulness by putting down your phone during meals or whenever someone needs your attention, especially a child. Come up with family rules on acceptable use of technology and screens (great ideas here).
Practice Gratitude. Gratitude practices help us to be in the present moment, seeing what there is to be grateful for and focusing on that, rather than on what’s missing or still left to accomplish. Find ways to ritualize gratitude to embed this important habit in your life.
Use your five senses. Coming to your senses is a grounding exercise. Deter from any thoughts or anxieties. Stop, breathe, and take a moment to notice what's happening in this moment. What do you see/hear/feel/taste/smell? Ask your child to join you in this practice of mindfulness.
Listen with your eyes — When someone asks you a question, look at them and listen to their words. If you are truly too busy to stop and look at them, ask them to wait until you can fully listen. This is a constant struggle for me (and one that my husband constantly remind me of) and it can truly pay off. We all - especially children - want to be heard. Receiving full and undivided attention is to be loved.
Savor Mealtime. Eating together can be a mindful moment, even if it's just snack time. It has other benefits, too. Studies show that children whose families regularly eat dinner together benefit in many ways, from improved eating habits to better physical and mental health. Eating together regularly contributes to sense of belonging, of being safe and grounded.
Cultivating loving presence plays a key factor in providing emotional support to another, which is protective for health. As we all know health is our greatest gift. So take a moment today. With your child, with your loved one, your friend. Take a moment and be there. Sit in awareness rather than moving onto your desired destination or task. Listen with your eyes. Without judgment or expectation.
As Dr. Rick Hanson mentions in his book Just One Thing, practice is key. It's about rewiring our brains for the good. A fascinating topic worthy of a post itself that I have written about before. For me, it's often a rhythm of becoming conscious of my unconsciousness and finally bringing my attention back to that moment, offering the gift of my presence (more on this in a future post). Our minds will often be distracted, but we can always return to the moment. Its challenging and uncomfortable, but achieving this mindful state of presence is a worthy endeavor as it positively impacts the well-being of its giver and receiver. Presence lets us thrive.
I had a tough day last week. It can be hard wearing so many hats, having a kid who still doesn't sleep through the night, and an absorbing career. I know I am not alone in these struggles.
Fortunately I woke up the next morning to a loving and wise note from my husband Albert. He wrote reminding me to share the same love and compassion that I give to others with myself. And boy is he right.
Parenting provides so many moments of joy and love and laughter, but also moments of frustration and guilt. We can be so hard on ourselves as parents - for missing time with our children while at work, for lashing out, losing our patience, missing their cues. Beyond our parenting dilemmas there always seems to be something that self-critical voice in the back of our mind is saying, reminding of us of our faults and imperfections. Whatever struggles we are navigating in life - parents or non-parents - it's easy to be hard on ourselves.
Self-compassion can help.
Self-compassion is a fairly new concept to me. I was exposed to it last year by my amazing colleague Dr. Jonah Paquette, author and Manager of Clinical Training at Kaiser Vallejo. Jonah exposed me to the growing research behind self-compassion and its many surprising benefits, which include:
What is self-compassion?
Self-compassion is a way of relating to ourselves kindly and embracing ourselves as we are, flaws and all. According to Kristin Neff, Ph.D. one of the world’s leading experts on self-compassion, there are three core components of self-compassion:
Self-compassion first requires a mindful awareness that we are suffering (rather than ignoring our pain or sticking it out). This elements is key since, as I have written before, research reveals that avoiding our feelings can negatively impact our health. It also involves recognizing that suffering and personal inadequacy is part of the shared human experience – something that we all go through rather than being something that happens to “me” alone. Finally, self-compassion means we are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings or disappointment instead of judging and criticizing ourselves.
One of the health benefits behind self-compassion is a reduction in the stress response. When we are self-critical we activate our body's fight or flight system, releasing stress hormones. As we all know, elevated stress has been associated with a range of negative physical and psychological outcomes. Self-compassion, by reducing self-criticism, may relieve our self-inflicted state of chronic stress. Turning towards compassion stops the broken record of negativity and rumination and moves us towards mindful acceptance.
Related to my tough day, additional research shows that self-compassion is an important parenting trait as it increases resilience and coping skills, enhances perspective, forgiveness and compassion for others. As we all know, children are ever so observant so practicing self-compassion (even if it's hard at first) is so important as our children will learn to treat themselves kindly by seeing how we handle our own mistakes. Beyond parenting, self-compassionate people are also less anxious and depressed and have more motivation to change for the better, try harder to learn, and avoid repeating past mistakes (Neff, 2015)
Tips for practice
Research shows that the more we practice being kind and compassionate with ourselves the more we’ll increase the habit of self-compassion. Of course this is the case with all behavior change! Consistency is key (and so hard!).
I myself have only tried a few self-compassion exercises so far. Below is one that I enjoy most from Dr. Neff. As she describes, this practice only takes a minute, can be used any time of day or night, and is available when we need it most – when we fail, make mistakes, or struggle in life.
Self-Compassion in Action: The Self-Compassion Break
Think of a situation in your life that is difficult, that is causing you stress. Call the situation to mind, and see if you can actually feel the stress and emotional discomfort in your body. Now, say to yourself:
1. This is a moment of suffering (this is the mindfulness part - acknowledging our pain)
Other options include:
2. Suffering is a part of life (common humanity)
Other options include:
3. Now, put your hands over your heart, feel the warmth of your hands and the gentle touch of your hands on your chest. Or adopt the soothing touch you discovered felt right for you. Say to yourself: May I be kind to myself.
You can also ask yourself, “What do I need to hear right now to express kindness to myself?” Is there a phrase that speaks to you in your particular situation, such as:
It is clear that treating ourselves with care and compassion is a powerful way to enhance well-being. I hope you give it a try next time you hear that inner voice of yourself being self-critical. Let me know how it goes!
There are some great lessons that children can teach us, and even at 4 months of age my son is teaching me one: the power of emotional agility.
On a daily basis infants experience several emotions – happiness, surprise, fear, interest, frustration, pain – often in the space of a few hours and sometimes minutes! What I notice, however, is that their emotions are not held onto - they are fluid. I mean, have you ever seen an infant hold a grudge or stay upset after its needs have been met?
I on the other hand am not always so fluid with my emotions….and I know I am not alone.
How often do we disagree with a friend, family member or spouse and hold onto that emotion of frustration or disappointment or hurt for hours, sometimes days? How common is it for us to dwell and ruminate about how someone reacted to us at work, how we behaved in a certain situation, about something we said or wish we had said and so on? In the river of life there is a continuous stream of emotions, but we don’t always let them flow (especially the negative ones).
The flow of our emotions can often be obstructed and slowed to a trickle; sometimes the flood gates are opened and a torrent rushes through us. Emotional agility is the ability to fully feel and accept our emotions, while remaining flexible and able to move away from beliefs and feelings that keep us stuck in the past.
So how can we increase our emotional agility?
To become emotionally agile, we first need to give ourselves permission to experience and feel what we are feeling. Research shows us that avoiding our feelings can impact our health – diminishing our wellbeing and creating symptoms of stress like headaches. One study conducted by psychologists from Harvard found that suppressing emotions may even increase the risk of dying from heart disease and certain forms of cancer.
So whatever emotions are welling up within us - positive or negative - let us feel them! Our emotional agility depends on us feeling these sometimes difficult emotions, but also involves us letting them go since studies have demonstrated a link between unhappiness and dwelling on negative emotions and events.
Another way we can let our emotions flow is to define them. It sounds odd, but research shows that when we can differentiate our emotions using an expanded emotional vocabulary we are less overwhelmed by stress and are less susceptible to unhealthy emotion-regulation strategies such as binge drinking and eating or aggression. This same research reveals that when children are taught this broad knowledge of emotion words their social behavior and academic performance in school improve.
Write it out
I’ve previously written about the health benefits of journaling. With regard to emotional agility, research shows that people who write about emotionally charged episodes are healthier both physically and mentally. Writing allows us to gain new perspectives on what our feelings mean (or don’t mean!) and can remind us that emotions are temporary and fleeting and not essential part of our being. Using phrases such as “I have learned,” “It struck me that,” “the reason that,” “I now realize,” and “I understand” can help detach yourself from your feelings, which can free you from rumination and lets you move forward.
A mindfulness practice often includes the practice of equanimity, or non-judgmental awareness and acceptance, which can also enhance our emotional agility. Maintaining an intentional, non-judgmental awareness toward our thoughts and emotions remind us that it’s okay to have negative feelings and thoughts, that we don’t have to fight them or judge them and that we can let them go.
In a mindfulness practice the breath is an essential tool, which can help us manage difficult emotions. Taking a breath triggers our parasympathetic nervous system to kick in, reducing our blood pressure, muscle tension and getting us out of the fight-or-flight state that emotions can often provoke.
Whether it’s a small disagreement with your spouse or a yearlong grudge toward a family member or friend, unresolved conflict negatively impacts our physical health. The good news: studies have found that the act of forgiveness can lower the risk of heart attack, improve cholesterol levels and sleep, and reduce blood pressure, and levels of anxiety, depression and stress. Start today and offer compassion and empathy to those who have wronged you and to yourself.
Take in the good
A final way to enhance our emotional agility is to take in the good. I wrote about this last month and in prior posts and it remains a savvy brain-science way to actively improve how we feel, helping us become more resilient, confident and happy.
Sure my 4 month old may not hold onto negative emotions because he is still forming his long term memory, but he is still a role model for us all. Ruminating on the negative usually just causes unnecessary suffering. May we all get to the root of what we’re feeling and express it to ourselves via writing and to others. May we take deep breaths when our emotions overwhelm us, forgive one another and intentionally savor the good in life - even the simple things like someone holding the door open for us. Or as my husband’s Grandpa used to say - success was going to the toilet, every morning.
*The term emotional agility was inspired by Susan David, PhD.'s book. If you'd like to take a quiz that measures your emotional agility check out her website!
"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others." - Cicero
As a new Mom I've caught myself oscillating between the highs and lows of excitement and lethargy, joy and frustration. I relish in the moments as I play with my son and am captivated by his smiles and development. On the flipside I find myself focusing on the negative, feeling disappointment for not organizing the house like I had planned or not exercising during his nap or for not finishing personal projects. I guess it’s the new-Mom guilt, but I had an epiphany last night that this negativity may be symptomatic of a neglected gratitude practice.
Whether you’re a new parent or not, it’s tough to accomplish all that we’ve planned in a day (setting S.M.A.R.T. goals can help with that). But focusing on what we didn’t accomplish negates all that we did. Focusing on the negative causes us to forget all we have to be grateful for. This negative thinking is often unproductive, but it’s human nature. Have you heard of the negativity bias? Did you know that we're hardwired for negativity? Remembering this helps relieve my self-criticism and makes me want to do something about it. But what is there to do?
Practice Gratitude and Take in the Good.
I wrote about the power of gratitude in a prior post and the power is real. There are hundreds of studies that have documented the social, physical, and psychological benefits of gratitude. To name a few, gratitude:
Keeping a gratitude journal is one way to battle our negativity bias. Another one is to Take in the Good. This is a practice that I was introduced to in the book Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson, Ph.D. From the author himself, here’s how to Take in the Good – in three simple steps:
1. Look for good facts and events and turn them into good experiences.
Pay attention to the good things in your world and inside yourself. This may include beautiful sunsets, songs on the radio, chocolate, the smell of a baby's hair, getting something done at work, finishing the dishes, an unexpected compliment, holding your temper, getting yourself to the gym, etc. When you notice something good, let yourself feel good about it. Keep opening up to it, breathing and relaxing.
2. Extend the experience in time and space.
Most of the time, a good experience is pretty mild and short lived and that is fine. But try to stay with it for 20 or 30 seconds in a row – instead of getting distracted by something else. Try to let it fill your body and be as intense as possible.
3. Sense that the good experience is sinking into you.
People do this in different ways. Some feel it in their body like a warm glow spreading through their chest. Others visualize things like a golden light sinking down inside, bringing good feelings and soothing old places of hurt.
By intentionally savoring these experiences, it becomes easier to find the good throughout everyday life. This is because neurons that fire together wire together. Holding these good experiences in our awareness for just a little bit longer and more frequently literally rewires the brain, making it easier to find and feel them. Life's challenges and to-do's won't be going anywhere. That laundry will still need to be put away; that kettle bell will still be looking lonely. But taking in the good can lift our energy and spirits, help put challenges in perspective, and fill up our cup so we have more to offer to ourselves and others.
On a recent drive to work I listened to an amazing podcast by Michelle Mcquaid on positive leadership. In the program she described a new theory of Well-Being developed by positive psychologist Martin Seligman called PERMA that includes five elements essential to human well-being:
Of all of the elements, the power of positive emotion struck me. According to Mcquaid, positive emotions -- like awe, love, happiness, joy, excitement, enthusiasm, contentment, and gratitude -- have an impact that goes beyond bringing a smile to our faces. Positive emotions can help us perform better at work and help strengthen our relationships. These emotions stimulate the release of dopamine and serotonin, broaden our scope of attention and make us feel safe. They inspire cooperation, collaboration, creativity and the ability to look to the future with optimism and hope. Longitudinal studies have also shown that positive emotions are associated with increased longevity, can buffer stress and help aid pain management.
So…how can we experience more of these potent positive emotions? This is a question I occasionally ask myself since I find it easy to get lost in my mind focusing on the negative: the what if's, regrets, losses, and injustice. Part of this is habit, but part of it is due to our evolved "negativity bias", according to Dr. Rick Hanson. It helped our ancient ancestors survive -- ever on the lookout for the saber-toothed tiger and remembering which plants were toxic--, but can pose obstacles while trying to find the silver lining. So...the real question is how can we counteract our evolved negativity bias?
The moral of the story is that if we want to experience more positive emotions we need to practice some kind of regular mental and emotional exercise. Counteracting the brain’s negative bias is not a passive process. All that said, I do not write this to discount those of us who frequently experience negative emotions. Evidence that shows that a healthy balance of both is important in life. However, positive emotions are worth cultivating. I think that whatever emotions we feel, we should not try to suppress them, feel guilty or ashamed. We should feel them completely, try to trace their origins and choose action: accept them, move forward, seek support and acknowledge the complexity of life. Then, go find that list of the things that you enjoy and do something pleasurable!
Amy Cuddy is a social psychologist, professor and researcher at Harvard Business School who studies body language and power dynamics. Specifically, she researches how people judge and communicate both power/competence and warmth/trustworthiness and how these judgments -- coming from others and from within ourselves -- can predict our life outcomes. For example, there is research that shows how the more a patient likes and connects with their doctor, the less likely they are to file a malpractice suit. Similarly, when we judge ourselves in a positive or negative light our failure or success often follows suit. Like I wrote before, our self-talk can influence our emotions, actions, and ultimately our personality.
We know that our minds can change our bodies, but can our bodies change our minds? According to Cuddy’s research the answer is yes! You may not feel powerful or you may lack confidence, but stand in one of her suggested power poses for 2 minutes and you will become more powerful physiologically – experiencing higher testosterone (our dominance hormone) levels and lower cortisol (our stress hormone) levels. As revealed in her talk below and research paper, posing in high-power positions causes neuroendocrine and behavioral changes that lead to increased feelings of power, and higher risk tolerance. Specifically, expansive, open postures that take up space project high power, whereas contractive, closed postures that minimize space by collapsing the body inward project low power.
By simply changing our posture, we can prepare our mental and physiological systems to endure difficult and stressful situations. It can help improve our performance during a job interview, while speaking in public, and managing difficult conversations with others. As Cuddy describes, it’s not in what we say, but in our presence – our comfort, authenticity, passion, enthusiasm and confidence.
Cuddy's Ted Talk has truly made an impact in my life and brings me to tears, especially within her final comment that has more or less become my mantra: Don’t fake it until you make it, fake it until you become it! And as she encourages us all to try power posing, she also implores us to share this science with others since those who can benefit from it most are often those who feel chronically powerless due to a lack of resources, low hierarchical rank, or membership in a low-power social group. Our bodies change our minds, our minds change our behavior, and our behavior changes our outcomes. Please share her talk and fake it until you become it! What do you want to become?
Last year I read an article in the New York Times on the benefits of reading fiction. Since then, I've jumped into the world of fiction head first, making up for all the years I've immersed myself in non-fiction. My chronic desire to be “productive” has drawn me to non-fiction in general, thinking that my time is best spent learning about health or psychology or biology….but really the benefits of fiction are vast. Especially for those (like myself) who struggle with expressing and reading their emotions and of those around them.
The study highlighted in the article found that after reading literary fiction, as opposed nonfiction, people performed better on tests measuring empathy, social perception and emotional intelligence. It makes sense since our brains don't make much of a distinction between reading about an experience and encountering it in real life (which is why self-talk is so powerful!). Researchers say the reason is that fiction often leaves more to the imagination, encouraging readers to make inferences about characters and be sensitive to emotional nuance and complexity.
Scientists call this capacity of the brain to construct a map of other people’s emotions and intentions “theory of mind.” And this capacity starts at a young age! A 2010 study found a similar result in preschool-age children: the more stories they had read to them, the keener their theory of mind — an effect that was also produced by watching movies but, curiously, not by watching television. Take note parents: preschoolers who have a TV in their bedroom and are exposed to more background TV have a weaker understanding of other people's beliefs and desires, and reduced cognitive development.
Since reading that article I’ve read more than a dozen of awesome novels. Check out the website Goodreads.com if you’re interested in some good recommendations. Currently I am reading A Confederacy of Dunces, one of the most hilarious and outlandish books I’ve ever read. It’s a blast uncontrollably laughing aloud on public transit and sharing with my fellow riders who express curiosity.
What are your favorite works of fiction? I would love to know your thoughts and get your recommendations.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ― Henry Ford
Self-talk is that inner running dialogue we have with ourselves. It’s that voice that says, "You sure are handsome" or "You are going to have a great day". It might say, “You look like crap today" or "You sure have gained a lot of weight”. The voice can be positive and optimistic, or negative and critical. It can exaggerate, discourage, and drain our energy with ruminating thoughts or it can inspire and uplift and strengthen. Which voice will you choose?
Our self-talk has a great influence on our emotions, actions, and ultimately our personality. To change our attitudes we must change the inner dialogue. Positive affirmations are a form of positive self-talk. By saying them repeatedly to yourself, you can make a direct impact on your subconscious mind, which eventually accepts them as reality. Positive affirmations challenge negative beliefs that undermine and replace them with positive self-nurturing beliefs. It is a kind of "brainwashing" only we get to choose which negative beliefs to wash away.
Positive affirmation exercises have been shown to have a broad range of beneficial effects. They can buffer stress by reducing rumination in response to failure and our reactivity to social evaluation. Positive self-affirmation boosts our self-image, increase self-esteem and self-regulatory strength and enables one to transcend self-image concerns. They can help change harmful behaviors or accomplish goals, and they can also help undo the damage caused by negative scripts, those things which we repeatedly tell ourselves that contribute to a negative self-perception.
For an affirmation to be effective, it needs to be present tense, positive, personal and specific. Repetition is also a key tool. To get started:
If you're interested in learning further techniques, check out Shad Helmstetter's book What to Say When you Talk To Yourself.
What are your affirmations? It's a challenge to practice affirmation exercises regularly, but I try. As I just started a new job, one of my current affirmation is"I am strong and intelligent and will succeed at all I attempt". I also enjoys saying "Rejoice evermore", "I choose love here", and "I am at peace". Some great ones for weight loss include: "I accept my body shape and acknowledge the beauty it holds", "I am grateful for the body I own and all it does for me.", and "I love and care for my body".
Remember, the mind is a powerful force: "We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are.” - Anais Nin
Attention Restoration Theory (ART) asserts that people can concentrate better after spending time in nature, or even looking at scenes of nature. Time in nature seems to help restore our prefrontal cortex, the thick outer layer of our brain that is in charge of planning, decision making, and moderating social behavior, which can become depleted with overuse.
Studies have found that ART can enhance cognitive function. One study in particular found that found that after four days of immersion in nature, and the consequent disconnection from technology, subjects experienced increased performance on creativity and problem-solving tasks. Of course, not all of us have the time to immerse ourselves in nature for four entire days. Luckily, just twenty minutes in a park setting is sufficient to elevate attention performance relative to the same amount of time in other settings.
The variety of research on ART indicate that our environments can enhance attention and that “doses of nature” might even serve as a safe, inexpensive, and accessible tool for those managing ADHD symptoms. Many researchers believe that humans are dependent on nature not only for material needs (food, water, shelter, etc.) but perhaps more importantly for psychological, emotional, and spiritual needs. Natural places such as parks offer an opportunity to become revitalized and refreshed while urban areas often mean dealing with environmental demands such as crowds, noise, and pollution. It has been demonstrated that these factors can cause mental fatigue and exhaustion.
I had the good fortune to get a little dose of ART on my birthday weekend, hiking 12 miles in the Philip Burton Wilderness on the Point Reyes Peninsula with my girlfriend Sara. We in the Bay Area are beyond fortunate to have such lush coastal trails and wildflower-filled meadows within a few hours drive. We enjoyed snacking on sweet wild strawberries, smelling the soapy Ceanothus and evading the poison oak and stinging nettle. With regard to ART, there is something to be said about multi-day treks in the wilderness, where your to-do's and distracting electronic devices are left at home. A two night, three day backpacking trip to the Trinity Alps is brewing here. 'Till then, let's keep incorporating daily doses of scenic beauty. Not only will be receive cognitive advantages, but we'll also get a dose of Vitamin D, exercise, fresh air and happiness.
Hello and welcome! My name is Andrea Notch Mayzeles. I am a Certified Health Education Specialist, Mom, and Master of Public Health dedicated to the path of well-being. As a wellness professional I am committed to continued learning and am here to share research, recipes and musings on health, psychology, personal development, and parenting. I hope you enjoy!