Natural Remedies for Summertime Skin Healing

Natural Remedies for Summertime Skin Healing

There’s no question that when we spend more time being active outdoors when the weather is nice in the summer, we risk exposing our skin to all sorts of minor hazards. Sunburns, bug bites, and small cuts or scratches are often a normal part of any outdoor adventure (to a certain extent) — but they don't exactly look very nice or feel very good after the fun is all over.

Instead of rummaging through your medicine cabinet, consider trying some of the following natural remedies that can speed up healing and soothe pain for some of the most common skin conditions most people tend to suffer from in the summer. You might be surprised just well they might work for you.

Sunburn - Aloe Gel

The aloe vera plant is a very well known remedy for treating minor burns. It produces two substances — gel and latex — both of which are used for medicinal purposes. To treat a minor sunburn, the gel substance is what you want.

According to WebMD, aloe gel speeds up healing by improving blood circulation and preventing cell death. There are also many creams and ointments that contain aloe gel, which can also be effective in treating burns and may be the best choice if you’re not keen on keeping an aloe plant alive.

But if you do have your own aloe plant, you can snip off a portion of one of the cactus-like plant’s leaves to use the gel from the inner part of the leaf. Gently apply it to the skin to soothe your burn.

Mosquito Bites - Witch Hazel

When mosquitos bite, the itching can be severe enough to drive you nuts and cause you to scratch your skin too harshly. Witch hazel is a plant that contains a chemical called tannin, which is thought to be responsible for its effective medicinal uses.

You can purchase witch hazel from any drugstore in liquid form, which you can then use along with a cotton ball or swab to dab onto the bite. It may sting a little, similar to rubbing alcohol.

The tannis in witch hazel may help reduce inflammation around the area of the bite, repair broken skin, and even prevent infection by killing bacteria. Its stinging effect may also be a bit of a welcome feeling of relief as it takes some of the itchy sensation away.

Cuts and Scratches - Raw Honey

Whether you brushed by a rough patch of tree bark or fell down on the pavement, you can count on the super sweet medicinal properties of honey to help heal your minor cuts and scratches. Honey is full of antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and minerals that naturally kill bacteria and fungi.

Using honey on minor wounds also acts as a barrier to moisture and prevents the skin from sticking to dressings. And because of its rich nutrient content, it may even help speed up the healing process as it cleanses and nourishes the skin.

People have been using honey topically to treat wounds for centuries. If you’re going to use honey, make sure you go for the darkest raw honey you can find since it will be the least processed and therefore the richest in nutrients and natural chemicals.

With these natural remedies on hand, you can offer your skin the healing it needs during those busy, active days spent outdoors. If your skin condition is anything other than a very minor sunburn, mosquito bite, cut, or scratch, make sure you get it check out by a doctor before trying any of these remedies to make sure you get the appropriate treatment.

 


The Crazy Simple Way to Get a Genuine Confidence Boost

The Crazy Simple Way to Get a Genuine Confidence Boost

Our whole lives are affected by our confidence levels. When we’re self-confident, we feel more naturally inclined to take action toward what we want in spite of other people’s negative judgments or challenges that threaten our progress.

When we’re lacking in self-confidence, however, we’re more likely to go into hiding as an automatic response to threats that we think we need to protect ourselves from. Unfortunately, doing this too often and for too long has a way of chipping away at the little self-confidence we actually do have.

A Serious Confidence Booster

As someone who practices yoga, you may already be seriously committed to developing greater self-awareness and self-love, which is absolutely essential for building confidence. You may even take it further beyond the mat by practicing mindfulness, writing in a daily journal, or using affirmations to support positive self-talk.

Loving yourself and consciously choosing to be positive are practices that build the foundation for genuine self-confidence, but you’ll grow the most when you couple it with this one simple yet massively powerful tip:

Commit to taking just one small action every day that scares you.

The Power of Facing Your Fears

This simple tip takes all of the inner work you continue to do through your yoga practice and uses it as fuel to drive you toward taking action out in the external world. When you take inspired action to get out of your comfort zone, it will light your inner fire and give you even more fuel to keep going. It’s a continuous cycle than will keep your confidence growing.

Small actions are also far less intimidating and easier to succeed at than larger ones. It doesn’t have to take more than a minute or two to accomplish. The most important thing is to do it (even if you don’t feel “ready” yet) and then fully take in all that you feel once you’ve completed it.

Putting It to the Test

Try it out for one week just to see how it goes. Set some time aside to compile a list of small daily actions you can take based on certain goals you want to achieve or attributes about yourself that you’d like to improve.

As an example, someone who’s out of shape but interested in becoming a superstar yogi might start out with the following list of small actions that may be scary, but necessary to build confidence:

  • Send an email to an inspiring yogi asking for advice
  • Practice body positivity by admiring self in the mirror for 5 minutes
  • Follow along with a free yoga workout on YouTube to practice indepedently
  • Call a yoga studio to ask about classes
  • Visit a yoga studio to check it out in person
  • Sign up for a class
  • Attend a class
  • Ask the teacher a question
  • Ask the teacher for help with a particular pose
  • Try meditating at home for 5 to 10 minutes
  • Practice a particularly difficult pose at home for 5 minutes
  • Compliment another classmate on their skill, yoga wear, or something else

One every day is enough.

Your list may look very different according to your journey. Just remember that something as simple as a single call you’ve been afraid to make or an email you’ve been avoiding to send will count.

You can plan out which small action you'd like to do every day or simply refer to your list every morning to pick one that feels right that day. Consider setting daily reminders on your phone so you stay consistent. Consistency is key to building confidence over time through these small actions.

Don’t forget to tune in to how good it feels to have faced one of your fears immediately after you're done. This is what will supercharge and inspire you to keep moving forward, naturally building up confidence within you along the way.

 


A 3-Step Method for Dealing With Resistance

A 3-Step Method for Dealing With Resistance

Your divine self is the source of your greatest personal transformation. Whether you’re conscious of it or not, you’re always being pulled toward what you truly desire as you grow and expand along with the rest of the Universe.

Resistance, however, can create more trouble and challenge than necessary for us while we’re trying to become the greatest versions of ourselves. It traps us in a whirlwind of our own negative thoughts, beliefs, and feelings so that our personal transformation slows down — sometimes so much that it can even feel like we’re moving backwards as we find ourselves having to deal with other problems that arise.

So, what can we do? Force ourselves to push through the pain and agony of what we’re resisting? That certainly seems to be what most people do. After all, life isn’t a fairy tale, right?

Or we could try positive thinking, but what good does that do when deep down we feel and believe something negative about trying to achieve what we want? Sometimes “positive thinking” seems like the equivalent of going into a state of denial.

In truth, the most appropriate and most effective way to deal with resistance comes with building awareness. Once we gain awareness, we’ll know that disabling resistance has everything to do with how skilled we are at changing our perspectives.

Acknowledge Resistance

You’ll know you’re in a state of resistance by what your emotions are telling you, because your emotions are always a reflection of your true self. You may feel fear, shame, guilt, or frustration in moving toward something you truly want. Know that this is okay.

First, avoid distracting yourself to remove yourself from the emotional discomfort. Instead, allow yourself to fully feel these negative emotions and accept them for what they are. Let your emotions physically flow out of you if this is what you need to release them.

Find Genuine Positives

Positive thinking doesn’t work by trying to pretend that the negative stuff is actually good stuff. You can’t force yourself into liking or wanting something that is not in alignment with the desires of your true self, so for positive thinking to work, you have to look for aspects of what you want that genuinely excite you and bring you joy.

For instance, something as simple as a bird singing in the distance counts as a small positive (as long as you genuinely like the sound of birds chirping). The more you look for positives — even the smallest ones — the more you’ll come to realize that nothing in life is really black or white, good or bad. It’s all grey, and it’s up to you to choose whether you wan to focus on the lightness or the darkness.

Flow Toward the Solution

Denying your resistant thoughts, beliefs, and emotions that are keeping you from getting something you want isn’t the answer to moving forward. That’s why acknowledging them is key. What you really need to do is set your resistance aside after acknowledging it so that you can focus on all the genuine positive aspects you identified in the last step.

Focusing on what you do want is what moves you closer to it. Focusing on what you don’t want, on the other hand, pushes against the problem and exasperates it. Think of it like a river: you want to flow effortlessly with the current rather than struggle to swim against it until you reach a point of exhaustion.

Repeat this three-step process every day, twice a day (morning and evening) if needed. Use a journal and keep a list to remind yourself of the positives. Over time, your beliefs and emotions will shift into harmony with your positive thoughts, which will naturally eliminate resistance and help you flow in right the direction toward what your true self desires.

 


Healthy and Refreshing Fruit-Infused Water Ideas

Water does so much more for us than quench our thirst. It increases our energy, prevents fatigue, helps with weight loss, flushes out toxins, rejuvenates the skin, aids in digestion, boosts the immune system, eliminates headaches, and so much more.

In hot and humid weather, it’s important to drink enough water before you feel really thirsty — especially if you’re planning on getting physically active. Drinking anything else just won’t cut it.

Other beverages like juice, soda, milk, coffee, and alcohol may seem quenching while you're drinking them, but they can come with lots calories and processed ingredients that may do you more harm than good. Likewise, anything with caffeine or alcohol will just add to dehydration.

If you’re looking for a few interesting ways to pump up the flavor of plain old water without having to turn to calories and chemicals, then you’re in luck. It’s time to jump on the fruit-infused water trend!

About Fruit-Infused Water

Fruit-infused water is just what it sounds like — fruit (plus veggies and herbs too if you want) that are soaked in water so that the flavors and trace amounts of nutrient and antioxidant properties are absorbed. It's not juice and it’s not a smoothie, but it’s definitely not plain old water either.

There are special infusion pitchers and water bottles you can get for relatively cheap almost anywhere that have special compartments in them where you can place your piece of fruit, veggies, or herbs so that they can be surrounded by the water to infuse it with flavor. Alternatively, you could also just drop your ingredients directly into any old pitcher or water bottle.

Benefits of Fruit-Infused Water

Unlike “vitamin waters” that contain coloring and chemical vitamins, water that has been with fresh ingredients is completely natural and puts hydration first. You can experiment with different combinations of ingredients, and a pitcher of infused water should stay fresh enough to drink for as long as 5 to 7 days in your refrigerator.

While you won’t get the full nutritional benefits from the ingredients you choose to infuse your water with, you’ll at least have a refreshing drink that’s calorie free and chemical free. And really, when it comes to staying hydrated, isn't that what should matter most?

Fruit-Infused Recipes to Try

Fruit-Infused Water

There’s really no wrong way to do this, but it can be helpful to have some go-to ingredients that produce pleasant flavors when paired together. Try these:

  • Slices of orange and kiwi
  • Raspberries with fresh mint leaves
  • Blueberries with slices of lime
  • Slices of lemon and cucumber
  • Slices of strawberries with fresh basil leaves
  • Slices of orange, kiwi, lime, lemon, cucumber, raspberries, blueberries, fresh mint leaves, and fresh basil leaves (for a combination of everything!)

Don’t worry too much about the amount of each ingredient to use — that will depend on how large your pitcher or bottle is and how flavorful you want your water to be. For just a hint of flavor, add fewer ingredients. For more flavor, slice lots of ingredients up into smaller pieces and try squeezing their natural juices into your pitcher or bottle before you add the water.

Add some optional ice, fill your pitcher or bottle with water, and refrigerate for 1 to 4 hours to allow the water to soak up the fresh flavors. It’s really the perfect summer drink when you make health and hydration number one!

 


Taking Your Meditation Outside

Taking Your Meditation Outside

There are a lot of personal benefits you’ll undoubtedly be able to experience once you start taking your meditation practice outside more often. Putting yourself in an outdoor setting can help to prevent that sense of boredom some people often feel from meditating in silence or eliminate the need to use headphones for a little bit of background music. And hey, a little more fresh air never hurts!

If you’ve never tried it, consider giving it a go at least once. And if you’re lucky enough to live in a location where it’s generally pretty warm throughout a good chunk of the year, you might as well take advantage of that by meditating outdoors as often as possible.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when planning to take your meditation practice outside.

Check the Weather

Besides checking the temperature, make sure you look at other weather conditions like wind gust, humidity, air quality, cloud coverage, UV level, pollen forecast, and anything else relevant to your location. This will help you decide whether you need to bring a sweater, hydrate a little more before you head out, put on extra sunscreen, wear sunglasses, or take any other measures to protect yourself from the elements.

Go Somewhere Peaceful

Don’t worry about picking the perfect spot. Whichever place you choose, there’s bound to be background noise from traffic and other people going about their business. The trick is to find a place where you can sit comfortably without being directly interrupted by anyone or distracted by surrounding sounds and events (like loud construction work or people passing by too closely to where you’re seated). A park bench, a garden gazebo, or maybe even the steps to your front door might do just fine as long as they’re somewhat removed from their busier surroundings.

Seek Shade

You should be applying sunscreen every single time you plan to spend an extended amount of time outdoors, but choosing a shady spot will add an extra protective layer. It will also keep you cool during warmer weather and it will be easier on your eyes. Try looking for spots that are shaded by trees, portions of a rooftop section, or shadows from buildings. You may even want to consider tailoring your diet to fit more sun-protecting superfoods into your meals and snacks.

Be Prepared for Creepy Crawlies

If you decide to meditate in a park, a wooded area, or even just on the grass in your own backyard, you’re pretty much bound to experience a bug or two try to crawl up your leg or fly into a part of your body. Aim to sit on something like a pillow, your yoga mat, or a chair with a stool for your feet to avoid giving all the ants and spiders a direct route from the ground all the way up your body. You can also wear long pants tucked into your socks or try some of these natural insect repellents to help a bit.

Don’t Worry About Other People

Those who are used to meditating in solitude may find it uncomfortable to go to a more public place where other people might notice them meditating. This is actually a good thing, because it will challenge your awareness and help you see that most people likely won’t notice at all. If you’re worried about it to the point that it distracts you too much, try to find a spot in an area that’s a little more secluded or consider wearing dark sunglasses so people won’t even see that your eyes are closed as you sit there in silence.

Practice mindfulness in your meditation practice by placing your awareness on the various sounds (and sights if you choose to leave your eyes open) that surround you. Birds, the wind, distant street traffic, and even people’s voices in the background can offer a soothing escape from your mind.

 


Helpful Tips to Improve Your Energy Balance

Helpful Tips to Improve Your Energy Balance

Sustaining enough energy to do all the things you want to do and be all the places you want to be when life gets busy and exciting is a serious balancing act. You can’t sustain high levels of energy forever, and if you try, you’ll undoubtedly end up paying for it later.

According to WebMD, there are 11 big energy-zapping culprits that most of us struggle with. These include sugar consumption, caffeine consumption, too much or too little exercise, dehydration, sleep deprivation, attitude, clutter, inadequate nutrition, stress, low self-esteem, and saying “yes” to too many things.

Focusing on balancing those areas mentioned above will greatly improve your energy levels, but don't forget that this always involves continuously cycling between spending energy and regenerating energy. Try using some of the following "quick fix" tips and techniques to help if you struggle to maintain energetic balance.

Know Your Energy Type

Do you know if you’re more introverted or extroverted? Introverted people are more energized by their inner worlds, meaning that they need to spend more time alone to regenerate their energy levels. Extroverted people are just the opposite. They’re energized by their outer worlds and need to spend time around other people to regenerate energy.

Susan Cain, author of the bestselling book “Quiet,” has a test you can take online to find out where you fall in the introvert-extrovert spectrum. Once you know this, you can consciously shift your daily activities to match your energy type so can reenergize yourself in a way that best matches your needs.

Stimulate Energetic Hotspots

There are certain parts of your body that you can touch or massage to stimulate pleasure, induce relaxation, and even perk you up a bit. Reflexology involves massaging parts of the feet, hands and head, which are believed to hold reflex points that are linked to other parts of the body. An easy way to do a DIY reflexology massage on yourself is by taking a golf ball and rolling it along your wrist against a flat surface — or alternatively you can roll the ball along soles of your feet against the floor.

Some people find that tapping their thymus, a gland located in the upper middle area of the chest, is an effective way to stimulate and balance energy. You can try giving it gentle but firm thump with your fist. You can also try rubbing the area or softly scratching it for a few seconds.

Use Healing & Invigorating Scents

Aromatherapy can be one of your best friends when you’re feeling drained or in need of an energy boost. Your best bet would be to choose an essential oil known to have healing properties that promote calmness, alertness, concentration, and memory enhancement. Some good choices include jasmine (except for pregnant women), lemon, rosemary, lavender, cinnamon and peppermint.

Both jasmine and lavender are ideal for soothing the nervous system when you need to relax. Rosemary, cinnamon, and peppermint are great for energizing the mind. If you don’t have a diffuser, mix a few drops with some water in a spray bottle to give the room you’re in an aromatic spray. You can also put a drop or two on a cotton ball and take a whiff.

Keep these energy balancing tips in mind and use them next time you find yourself going overboard without taking the time or effort to rejuvenate yourself. This will ensure a healthier ebb and flow of energy so you can fully enjoy what you love doing most.

 


3 Simple Ways to Ignite Your Personal Power

3 Simple Ways to Ignite Your Personal Power

Your “personal power” is your source of strength and confidence that allows you to naturally influence the world in positive, meaningful ways. It’s a state of being involved with knowing who you are and what your intentions are even when obstacles and setbacks threaten to throw you off track.

The ancient Sanskrit teachings tell us that our center of personal power is in the third major Chakra — the Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura) — located just a few inches above the abdomen. It surrounds the upper portion of the abdomen and lower part of the ribcage, and we can imagine its color as yellow, like the sun.

You can work with your Solar Plexus Chakra to balance out your energy through meditation, but there are other simple techniques you can use to ignite your personal power too. Use these any time you feel unconfident, insecure, powerless, or afraid of fear and rejection.

Practice Self-Affirmation

Affirmations are more than simply positive words you say to yourself. They help you get back in touch with your core values. These are unique truths known by your higher self, which can often get lost underneath all the mental chatter going on in your head. Some good affirmations to say to yourself include:

“I accept and love myself exactly as I am.”

“I throw all of my negativity into the fire of transformation.”

“I take full responsibility for my energy levels and my actions.”

“I know that my human will is lovingly supplied by my Divine Self.”

“I trust in the light that flows through me and guides me through every moment of my life.”

Strike a Power Pose

Your body language can change how you feel within seconds, so a power pose like an upward salute (Urdhva Hastasana) is a fast and easy way to boost your confidence. Stan up straight and use the strength of your muscles in your arms to sweep them up over your head into as you reach toward the sky. You can position your arms straight upward, in a v-like position, or together with your hands touching.

An upward salute naturally stretches and energizes the entire body, improving the digestive system (which is governed by your Solar Plexus Chakra) and opening up the chest and lungs to improve breathing. You can also use this pose to help relieve any stress or anxiety you may be feeling.

Create a Strengths Collection

Another extremely effective way to boost your personal power almost instantly is by using written and visual “evidence” pieces that remind you of all your past successes and your best strengths. Pick out photos, letters, awards, copies of past journal entries, and anything else that reminds you of past struggles you were proud to overcome, or achievements you were proud to have earned. Print them out from your computer if you have to.

You can organize them into a scrapbook, keep them in a large envelope, or tuck them away in a shoebox. Whenever you feel yourself focusing on your weaknesses or insecurities, pull this out and look at all the evidence you have that proves how strong and capable you are.

These three techniques can help you keep your energy flowing strong, even in times of challenge and uncertainty. Use them anytime and anywhere when you need to add some extra fuel to your fire.

 


What to Use as a Natural Insect Repellent

What to Use as a Natural Insect Repellent

Late spring and early fall are often considered the two best times of the year to do anything outside because it's warm enough to enjoy the summer weather without the bugs. Come June, July, and August, however, it's a totally different story, These are usually the worst months to try and do anything outdoors without being bitten by mosquitos, black flies, deer flies and other unfriendly insects.

You could certainly spray a thick layer of a DEET-based insect repellent across any exposed skin or even thin pieces of clothing before you head outside, but the potential health risks may not be worth it. The Environmental Protection Agency says that DEET is safe when products containing it are used as instructed, but it never hurts to look into using a safer, all-natural inspect repellent alternative that doesn’t contain any pesticides or toxins at all.

Natural Options

Research testing on plant-based alternatives has shown there are at least a few natural ways to repel insects without the use of chemical products like DEET — at least to a certain extent. Soy-based products like the commercially sold product Bite Blocker have been able to provide hours of protection against nuisance mosquitos, which may be just as good or even better than using DEET products.

Essential oils are another great natural option, as long as you choose the right kind. Those that have been distilled from the mint family, pine family, cedar family, and aromatic grasses have been used around the world for centuries to help keep the bugs away. Thyme oil, geraniol, peppermint oil, cedar oil, patchouli and clove have been found to be among the most effective in repelling mosquito vectors like malaria, filarial, and yellow fever.

The downside to using essential oils is that their repellent effects aren’t very long-lasting, which depend on the formulation and concentration. They can also irritate some people’s skin.

Making Your Own

If you’d like to go ahead and try making your own simple insect repellent using essential oils, make sure you follow the safety guidelines provided by the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) by conducting a skin patch test on yourself first. If you’re pregnant or a nursing mother, talk to your doctor before using essential oils.

According to Dr. Anne Marie Helmenstine, chemistry expert, you can make your own insect repellent by mixing several drops of essential oil with your preferred choice of carrier oil. She recommends cinnamon oil, lemon eucalyptus oil, regular eucalyptus oil, citronella oil or castor oil to repel mosquitos. For carrier oil, use olive oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil, or any other cooking oil you like.

The trick is to get the ratio of essential oil to carrier oil just right, without going overboard on the essential oil. You should have 1 part essential oil to 10 to 20 parts carrier oil, so to start, combine 10 to 25 drops of essential oil with 2 tablespoons of carrier oil and mix well. Rub a small amount of the mixture into your skin while avoiding the areas of skin surrounding your eyes, and reapply after about 30 minutes for the best effects.

These natural options may work alright in any common outdoor setting where the bugs are slightly annoying, but if you’re heading out into thick bush or anywhere with standing water, you may need to take extra precautions by covering up as much skin as possible with thick clothing that the bugs can’t penetrate. The bugs may be a pain, but they're an integral part of nature, so we might as well be as prepared as we can to face them!

 


5 Tips to Grow Yourself Through Summer Journaling

Chances are you’ve got a lot of great plans lined up for the summer. But instead of solely relying on your smartphone to capture everything in photos, why not write about it too?

Writing is one of the easiest and most beneficial forms of self-therapy. It can help you discover new things about yourself and appreciate everything you have in the present.

If you already have an established journaling practice, summer is a great time to tweak your habits a little so you can get the most out of it. And if you don’t already have one, now couldn’t be a better time to start!

Here are a few tips to consider when journaling about all the thoughts running through your mind and experiences you’ll be having this summer.

Get Visual

If you’re not already set on journaling the old fashioned way with pen and paper, try combining all the amazing photos you’ll be taking on all your adventures with your writing. There are all sorts of apps out there that you can access on your computer and your mobile device which you can use to attach photos, track your location, tell you the weather, and keep everything organized in a nifty calendar. Day One and Journey are two premium journaling platforms to check out.

Let Emotions Flow

While it might seem obvious to simply describe all the busy and exciting events that have taken place, you’ll experience the most growth when you pair that with how all of it made you feel. Try writing one sentence to explain the event followed by two or more sentences detailing the thoughts and emotions you felt before, during, and after it was all over. Integrating your narration with emotion will supercharge your storytelling.

Be Honest

It's normal to want your journal entries to sound fun and exciting while leaving all the not-so-great sounding stuff out. But manipulating or censoring your writing won’t do you any good now or in the future when you come back to read it. The trick is to allow yourself to write whatever comes to mind first without worrying about how boring, negative, or even angry it might all sound in the end. Being honest in your writing will help accelerate your growth.

Set Reminders

A good idea is to develop a morning or evening journaling habit. An even better idea is to set up reminders on your smartphone or within the journaling app you’re using to do both. Research shows that our brains are most active and ready to be creative in the minutes upon waking, making it the perfect time to journal about your intentions for the day. And at night, specifically the last few minutes before your head hits the pillow, is the perfect time to journal about what you want your subconscious mind to be processing while you sleep.

Don’t Skip

There will undoubtedly be at least a few summer days when you’ve got nothing going on, and while these days may not seem worth journaling about, they could serve as your most valuable days for self-growth if you simply decide to stick with it. On a rainy day when you’re stuck inside or on a day that you need to take to recuperate from a big trip, take the time to keep journaling. It often turns out that on these days when you think you have nothing exciting to journal about, you’ll actually still have a lot to say, which might just help you get to know and love yourself a little deeper.

 


Simple Ways Nature Can Be Awe-Inspiring

Simple Ways Nature Can Be Awe-Inspiring

We experience awe when when we’re overwhelmed by emotion. Usually, this is a positive experience that’s triggered by something so grand and powerful, we can’t even begin to comprehend it with our minds.

According to a study from the University of California, Irvine, experiencing awe helps us dial down our egos and shift our perspective to a larger and more collective point of view. We essentially become motivated to do things that are bigger than ourselves, which naturally encourages us to become more kind and generous toward other people.

The experience of awe, as you might have already guessed, is a good thing for all of us — and one of the easiest way to experience more of it is by tuning in to nature. Becoming more aware of the natural world that surrounds us can give us that beautiful sensation of smallness in a Universe of vastness.

This summer, start paying attention to the various sights, sounds, smells, and feelings that trigger your senses. Learn to appreciate them for what they are, and you might just be awe-inspired by them.

Sights

Something as simple as placing your awareness on the different shades of green that appear on the leaves of a tree as the sunlight shines through them can inspire awe. Common wildlife species like birds and squirrels surround us all the time — even in big cities — yet we never take the time to really acknowledge how amazing these little critters really are. Ask yourself, what other amazing creations of nature are you forgetting notice every day?

Sounds

While it may be worth getting away from urban areas with lots of traffic and noise, it’s easy enough to get out to a park to notice the rustling of the trees through the wind or the birds chirping happily as the sun sets. You could even crack open a window on a rainy day to listen to the raindrops hit the ground, or sit quietly and tune into the thunder that rumbles across the sky during a thunderstorm.

Smells

Smell is the sense that’s most strongly tied to memory, which can often inspire a nostalgic feeling of awe. Catching a whiff of a bonfire may trigger beloved memories of camping trips when you were a kid, or the scent of lake water could take you back in time to a specific vacation spot that you remember and cherish from years ago.

Feelings

The warmth of the sun wrapping your entire body in heat or the gentle push of the current on your ankles and feet as you stand in a river are just a couple of simple examples that really demonstrate how powerful nature truly is when it comes into direct physical contact with us. Feeling the grass under your feet, the wind in your hair, or the warm rain on your skin are a few other suggested ways to let nature heal you through touch.

The above examples help prove that you don’t have to be standing right under the Northern Lights or on top of a cliff overlooking the ocean to experience the wonders of nature and be inspired by it. Look for the little things that are already around you, and they’ll almost certainly reveal to you just how incredibly wonderful the nature of life really is.