No, I am not going to rail about El Nino or debate climate change; neither am I going to use such weather clichés as, “If you don’t like the weather in New England now, just wait a few minutes” – attributed to Mark Twain. (In considering this topic I did a search on weather quotes and found that the attribution to Twain was unsourced; however, he did give a talk to the New England Society’s Seventy-First Annual Dinner, New York City, Dec. 22, 1876, in which he reported counting 137 different kinds of weather in New England within 24 hours! He might have been exaggerating for effect, being Mark Twain.)
Today I am more interested in the topic of inner weather. We human beings like to think of ourselves as higher than or perhaps exempt from the effects of environment on our experiences. We live our lives in this country, often, in urban centers filled with noise and traffic. We spend our days in office cubicles surrounded by the twitters and whirring of computers, ringing phones, printers and all the other technological advances of the 21st century. We go home to televisions, streaming video, video games. Many of us don’t get outside more than the ten minutes it takes us to move from home to car, car to office. Perhaps we live in cities with public transportation, and we ride subways or ells or buses. If we are fit and lucky and it is safe, we might get to ride bicycles. We spend more and more time removed from the weather.
We are told that we need to spend at least 15 minutes daily getting outside sunshine in order to have appropriate levels of Vitamin D, a vitamin that has in recent years been determined to be both very important to human health and very likely to be deficient in many people in the United States. We don’t get out very much these days.
I am not (yet) an outdoor person. I don’t like to sweat, and I don’t like being cold. A perfect day would be sunny with a slight breeze, about 72, with a lovely, relatively easy trail that goes through a beautiful forest filled with deer and other wildlife, but NOT filled with insects. As it happens, such a beautiful place exists about a mile from my home; however, the 72 degree days happen rarely, and the insects disappear only with the appearance of much colder weather. What to do.
My goal for myself is to become more of an outdoor person so that my inner weather will be fortified by all the good things the outdoors can offer – increased Vitamin D, but more than that, the experience of beauty, the joy of movement, the removal from the pace of life that we experience these days. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Want to change your own inner weather?
- Take a walk at lunchtime – any movement helps, even through a steel canyon.
- Get up 15 minutes earlier and GO OUTSIDE – rain or shine. Even a balcony on a high-rise will do.
- Get a dog. Dogs are great about making us outdoor people.
- If you have a pet, pet your pet. Even if you are not outside, the act of interacting with a pet has beneficial effects on anxiety, blood pressure, even digestion.
- Create something beautiful. Just for the joy of it.
- Really look at a leaf, or a stick, or a stone. Think about its life journey.
About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC/MHSP:
Susan is a communications and relationship specialist, counselor, Imago Relationship Therapist, businesswoman, mother, and proud native Nashvillian. She has been in private practice for over 30 years. As she says, “I have the privilege of helping to mend broken hearts.” Contact Susan at http://www.susanhammondswhite.com
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