One small change to improve your health

"You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. ~ Buddha
Our culture does not champion stillness, or for that matter, reflection and introspection. And most definitely, self care. But, these are the essentials to a life well lived. S-l-o-w d-o-w-n and listen.

The idea today is to welcome the one thing in your life that will serve as a building block to perfect health--in mind, body and spirit. This is the only moment you have. The one huge thing you can do to reset your life is this:

Take 10 minutes of your day and hang out in nature

New studies are unequivocally confirming the positive healthful effects of nature. At the core of perfect health is your local park. No kidding!

People who are exposed to natural scenes aren't just happier or more comfortable; the very building blocks of their physiological well-being also respond positively.  ~ The Atlantic

Nature resets our internal clocks. A walk in the forest, or your local park, the more dense, the better, has proven to improve health.

Trees emit a chemical -- phytoncide -- which protects them from rotting. Scientists say that breathing in clean air with this chemical  provides the benefits--cleanses the mind, spirit. In one study, forest baths even cured tuberculosis. When was the last time you took a quiet walk in nature? Have you dipped into the forest for a nice lush bath? I've written about the amazing health effects of forest bathing.

People who walked through a parks on their way to work reported lower levels of cortisol--the bad stress that is the root of many illnesses. In fact, people, including children, who lived around parks and more green, had better stress buffers to help them navigate their day.

It's tragic that children today are more able to identify cartoon characters than local species. Living in an urban jungle, more and more of us are challenged to commune with nature. So, actively search for it and make it a priority, even if its just 10 minutes a day.

I stop and literally smell the roses, and tulips. My kid thinks I am corny because I talk to plants along the way to school. He laughs hard too. And sometimes, I urge him to join me in talking to plants. It's part of the family legacy anyway. My mom talks to her plants in her lush Caribbean garden and I've seen the fruits it bears. After reading the latest research on the relationship between nature and health, I  know that this playful nature walk with my child is protecting him in ways that I'd never imagined.

The case for nature needs no further study--it is quite conclusive. Here's to your perfect health and a new relationship with nature.