You can't ignore millions of years of evolution when it comes to your mental health and well-being. How to bring nature inside your brain.
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“What’s in a name?
That which we call a rose,
By any other word would smell as sweet.”
(Romeo and Juliet, Act II, scene ii)
Nature provides the perfect antidotes to all human problems.
Every plant, being and creature does it’s best to work with the sun’s bounty and from the heat at the Earth’s core. For peace of mind we must ebb and flow with patterns which naturally occur. As long as humanity continues to destroy vast areas of worldwide natural habitat, we shall remain a stressed species – going against the wildlife grain. Joining the World Wildlife Fund would be a great start to help nature out.
If all forms of nature are steadily diminishing, then it’s all the more important to bring the little we have closer together into out lives. So how do we gather nature up into our minds for the benefit of all and help solve our own problems?
Here are half a dozen ways to bring nature into your mind:
1. Study Nature
Firstly, wherever you live, begin thinking about the little nature you can see on a daily basis. Learn the story of your natural environment and urban ecosystem. There are thousands of plant species around, hundreds of trees and insects, many small animals and birds, as well as lots of domestic animals. Start remembering and reciting more and more each week, generating a curiosity about the unseen side of our concrete jungle. Even a barren looking wasteland or wheelie bin street harbors lots of interesting life-forms.
You are most likely busy every day, so why waste valuable organisational and socializing time spotting patches of nature? Nature re-tunes perspective, allowing us to order our conformed red taped lives into sensible assessments and actions. By studying the order in nature and feeling its presence, we actually become more emotionally and work efficient; it’s a fact. Part of this reality is observing the life and death struggles that all creatures and plants undergo: life for them is brutal but free. Understanding and accepting this competitive format and the hardship of freedom helps us gain a great deal of control, reason and compassion to our approach towards everything we do.
Being with nature creates freedom of personality without the effort of self-analysis. Everyone fits into and has a place in nature. There is no pretentiousness or false platforms; only the hierarchy of survival.
2. Computer Limits
Computers are the opposite of nature, so spend as little time possible looking at computer, tablet and mobile phone screens. The same applies to television screens but nowhere near as much. This aversion is much more about the way we look at screens than the glowing electronic screens themselves, yet the screens are not healthy either. Computer usage, particularly gaming has been nothing but damaging to people’s mental health: the desire to live in another world which we control is very enticing, even extremely seductive.
When we are stressed-out with our tasks and not happy, it’s natural to escape into another dimension. That’s what mental illness is; finding another place to be you.
Our eyes have evolved to mainly seek out danger and food from a distance: focusing intensely on one visual point for hours on end means stagnation, lethargy and eventual ambush and fatality – in the wild. We do need macro focus to forage for ants or crack open shells and mollusks, etc, but these are short bursts of directed focus not held intensely for great lengths of time. Often people assume the greenery, trees and beauty of landscapes is the only or main reason we are drawn to them? But as equally important is the feeling of comfort our eyes give us when they roam freely across natural shapes and patterns – familiar to our genetic ancestry and memories. We like open plains which signify safety.
Computer usage has progressed into a false version of internal safety, which if obsessed about creates real psychological problems – particularly social inhibitions; the direct opposite of most people’s motivation for using them. The screens would be better for us if they were large 3-D globes, not two dimensional, flat as a pancake vision blockers. Flat screens unnaturally force our attention to linger and stay put causing headaches and migraines and worst of all an anti-social mind-set. The style of vision required and general frustrations that computer errors produce are the antithesis of a nice fresh-air walk in nature. TV watching is not the same – the eyes wander much more freely – and therefore are much less stress producing: sometimes the ambient light and absorbing character dialogue can produce relaxing hormones; but only if your mind agrees you deserve to sit down and rest without feeling guilty.
Being a professional website designer or software developer is statistically one of the most stressful jobs around for good reason; it takes a lot of character to overcome a continual onslaught of mistakes and criticisms befalling your program or aesthetics whilst staring at a neon obstacle. Computer fixation simulates downward vision often associated with depressive and negative thoughts. Maybe the future shall provide translucent screens or holographic interactions which fill the room and our visual needs? We simply require an optical depth of field to feel normal which nature provides.
People love holidays because they frequently simulate positive natural visions. Even a walk around a new exotic looking town with new objects to buy, simulates a successful foraging day. And the great new landscapes seen especially develop a sense of achievement. Our eyes and brains need a natural environment to be calm in. Seeing brand new trees and fields unlocks our inner potential.
Using computers as little as possible does bring us closer to nature. Think of how many times that using a computer device has made you unhappy; 40-95% of the time is the answer?
It’s not just about electronic devices versus nature. Human emotions filtered through a computer system calculate badly. How many times has a text message been misinterpreted and incorrectly taken offense too? How many successful online and phone chats lead to disappointment when the two individuals meet in person? How many people are being made and going to be made redundant because of computer and robotic advancements? All machinery moves us at a different pace to nature’s set rhythms.
3. Be Nature
One remote and extremely challenging solution is to renounce materialism, up-sticks and go and live in the wild. That is a very brave and risky gamble to take which can often lead to extreme loneliness. Not only that, it sometimes takes a lot of money to kick-start (buy land, tools and time, etc) and one rarely can totally escape the Capitalist system: at some point you will have to negotiate for supplies. The results of families and individuals who dare to beat the system by being part of nature are mixed: escaping the trap is a bit of a one way decision and journey which can create unwanted traps of its own making. And obviously not everyone can step out of the monetary system simultaneously. Also, the happy outcomes usually make snail or no developmental scientific progression and are therefore vulnerable to global companies decision making whether they own the land or not.
It’s good to dream and fantasize about being at one with nature, but for most people this is not a feasible decision that will bear ripe psychological fruits. There is also a reverse dictatorship in wanting to be the master of one’s destiny. Part of human existence has always been about coping with or fighting dictators. Your best bet is to take that escapist feeling caused by financial servitude and coercion and channel it into creating ways to beat the bullies who made you feel that way in the first place. Somehow running away seems unfair to those who stay: we desperately need that strength of character and opposition usefully in society.
4. Grow plants
Nothing beats the real thing: a lovely wild-looking garden especially, or even designer green mini-landscapes accompanying our homes provide a spade turf of nature on our very own doorstep. Gardens can be very time consuming but even a patch of grass can make all the difference to your frame of mind when stuck indoors.
When gardening, soil on our skin can heal eczema, provide a well paced exercise in the fresh air, increase your repertoire of nature knowledge and can be all round quite therapeutic as long as you take it easy. It’s also amazing what difference a wide variety of indoor plants can do for our psychological well-being: they break down rigid right-angles, remind us of being with nature, are living, interesting watching grow, must be cared for, have vivid natural colours, give an illusion of space, act as good dehumidifiers, absorb bad air and welcome light as we should. Giving a soil or watercress water birth to a seed of choice is fun. Green is good.
There are simply too many two-dimensional surfaces in modern homes. We like homely pods not stark walls and protuberant objects branching towards us and leading view-point perspective away - rather than solid facades. Our cars have mostly become quite pod-like with friendly rounded corners. In a similar fashion, houses could use streamlining too; having bigger coving, more pictures for 3-D and a lot more sustainable solid wood furniture which feels solid – with a reliable thud. Glass and metal is only suitable for windows and chandeliers.
Leaves feel very friendly. Imprinting different leaf patterns into our mind’s subconscious is very healthy for us: particularly palmately veined and multiple lobed ones; we like a leaf we can see through or beyond. The foliage must diffuse and disseminate what we are taught to be true. Does anything seem more magical than light rays shining through leaves: maybe a waterfall, fantastic sunset and definitely a rainbow? Plants represent something unpredictable and infinitely slow chaos in motion. We require these patterns to be around daily to remind us of our own vascular network and the uncertainty of life.
People are like skin and bone plants not designed to be stuck indoors for too long during the day.
Plants hold humility to them and can act as fairly unresponsive companions – if poetic license allows us to stretch their friendly nature? Picking up on electroconvulsive impulses and holding lots of water they may even be capable of absorbing bad auras (this has not been disproved and certainly many people feel comfortable talking to their plants). Plants can feel each other’s electric surges in different rooms (a proven scientific fact) and photosynthesis absorbs the carbon dioxide we breathe out; they are symbiotic propagators.
Many leaves are like flat green hands reaching out for life. The importance of their positive psychological impact on our minds cannot be emphasized enough. On the one hand they mirror our neural pathways and opposite to that represent the colours and freedom for growth we lack; people continuously regenerate but always within similar space. Next time you see a leaf shape that really strikes you as beautiful, conjure that imaginary shape, form and colour in your mind as much as your thoughts allow for at least a few days and you should notice a small yet significant improvement with your attitude towards life. It’s less about the visualisation wiping out negative thoughts continuously arising from outside (persona reflection) and more about connecting with your primordial inner unconscious personality (anima).
5. Adopt a Pet
Don’t buy one; there are plenty of unloved pets out there who need a home and hopefully in return you shall be faithfully rewarded with a creature that loves you back. In order to become wanted, needed or loved, we must give away as many and more good loving emotions as we hope to receive. Pets (particularly dogs, cats and horses because of their bigger brains and character) provide the fauna balance to plants we equally require and desire.
We like to see animals going in between, through and over plants and trees; quicker paced, responsive and adaptive, like us. A loyal pet will never let you down, judge wrongly or upset you and most importantly pours out unconditional love all the time. Stroking a pet calms your nerves.
6. Copy Natural Patterns
Nothing tops blue sky, green grass and canopy sights. The government luckily can’t tax people for looking at the sky outside (a window tax once did; repealed in 1851 in England and Wales), so blue skies are still free, yippee!
But that’s the problem; most people don’t spend enough time outdoors and most architecture is cheaply box-like and uninspired. There’s simply not enough natural visual, auditory and olfactory stimulus to keep our blocked minds in check; thus mental illness is sprouting much more than trees are.
Our fight or flight balance is heavily controlled. But what if there was a way to feel being amongst nature when you’re clearly not? Instead of tricking our minds with simulation, meditation / visualization, etc, how about just returning to our original purpose?
Our minds need to stay with nature all the time to feel comfortable. Yet we are mental renters of a social plot. Transcendence isn’t about being above people, it’s about being above yourself using the natural flow of life.
To be with nature you only have to do the things that nature does, or more pertinently what it asks you to do. Society is not asking us the right questions, but nature always does because it always looks for the simplest path to take to grow best.
I have studied these infinite patterns of nature and growth for years, which are clearly the answer to our woes. They are the foundation to Earthborn Meta-Animation’s principles.
Authored by Andrew Voller
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"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."
~ Albert Einstein
"Just living is not enough... one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower."
~ Hans Christian Andersen
"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you."
~ Frank Lloyd Wright
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Why Protect Nature?
To love the world of nature is to love one's self.
Nothing beats nature in my eyes and virtually everything comes from nature anyway. We came from nature and everybody loves it so why are Humans the greatest destroyers of their own favourite environment? In one word ‘greed’. The billionaires have been allowed to control such a financial monopoly over the people and Mother Nature that nothing but a war which destroys more nature can stop them! It’s unstoppable lunacy.
Humans are big animals and we consume a lot of natural resources, especially with all our cattle (being a vegetarian helps the world a lot). In traditional Human style, nothing will be done until it’s probably too late so we could consider ourselves lucky that we’re in a period of history where lots of nature still exists.
Nature gives us so much and we return so little. It time to change that.
The dominant species dominates. That's just the way it is. Our dominant strain is bullying and we must break this or face extinction.
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To be happy you must believe that your dreams will can come true, otherwise the stars in the night's sky are just crystal lies and the moon is a broken plate of hope.
Even on your weakest days there are always faith embers inside which can be fired up to light the way to your destiny.
The greatest gift nature ever evolved into was family unity.