Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

Never mind pleasure.  Search out joy.  Pleasure is its shadow.  But joy is real, a secret splendor running through all creation.
~ Fae Malania

For as far back as I can remember, I have always felt happiest outdoors.  Regardless of the season or the weather, being outside in the landscape has worked wonders at setting things right inside me. 

As a child, I would delay coming indoors for as long as possible… denying hunger or tiredness, or that my feet were cold in the winter. 

I didn’t do anything extraordinary, just run among the trees and explore every nook and cranny of the yard.  In summer, I’d follow ants and caterpillars in their travels and check out every new bloom in the garden.  I was always on the move, and usually running from one activity to another.  In winter, I’d spend hours on end playing with the snow, skating on outdoor rinks or sliding.   

What I remember most from those times was how very happy I was, and how easy it was for me to be in the moment, undistracted by present concerns or thoughts of the past or the future.  I still feel this way when I’m outdoors:  all of my attention is focused on my natural surroundings.  As worry is lifted,  I feel lighter and more at peace.

It is impossible to walk rapidly and be unhappy.
~ Mother Teresa

Endorphin-releasing exercise, fresh air and natural light all contribute to creating feelings of well being while outdoors.  These have the same effect whether you’re four, fifty or ninety.  I also like the way me and my day-to-day concerns seem to shrink whenever I find myself in the vastness of the landscape.  It’s both comforting and joyful to feel small in the great outdoors.

Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars… and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful.  Everything is simply happy. 

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Snow covers the landscape, coating everything with blue in the early morning light.  Blue can be beautiful, but it also can also make a frigid day seem even cooler.  

With the warm, rich colours of fall a distant memory and spring still many long weeks away, it’s at this time of year that many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Less sunlight and exercise cause many to feel the winter blues.  Tiredness and lethargy make some wish they would have gone into hibernation back in the fall.  Others get downright depressed.  Children become restless too and it becomes more difficult for both young and old to focus on the task at hand. 

For people of all ages, perhaps the simplest solution to the winter blues is to go outdoors in the open air and get some exercise.  Whether you go for a short walk to the end of the driveway or a stroll around the neighborhood, breathing in the fresh air and feeling outdoor light on your face is a step in the right direction. If there are trees nearby, you’ll also benefit from the extra oxygen they expell.

If you really want to lighten your spirits, and especially those of children, you could try a winter picnic.  You don’t need to pack much.  A couple of sandwiches, cookies and something warm to drink in a thermos will do.  Bring along some seeds for any chickadees you might see flittering in the trees.

You need not stay out in the cold for long.  Being out in the natural light surrounded by trees is sure to put you in a different frame of mind.  The warmth of the indoors will seem even more enjoyable afterwards.

Now I see the secret to making the best person:  it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.
~ Walt Whitman

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