By Kristine Steinberg, CEO Kismet
I want you to try something with me.
Close your eyes and imagine sitting near a cold, clear river. Imagine the sound of the flowing water, and spend a full minute listening to it. Now imagine you’re plunging into a fresh, salty ocean and coming back up to the surface to float, with the sun hitting your face. Feel the water gently supporting you, and imagine every care or worry vanishing into the air above you.
Next, imagine hiking through a desert of blooming cactuses with red buttes in the background and the dry wind hitting your face. Feel the heat of the air and smell the dust as it swirls around you. Now picture hiking into a moss-drenched gorge in the pouring rain, listening to the squish of the damp ground beneath your feet and feeling the cool mist against your face.
How did that make you feel?
These are some of the simple meditation practices I use to help draw upon one of my sources of strength: mother nature. Nature grounds, nurtures, embraces, inspires, and heals us.
In this past year of stress and overwhelm, I have been uniquely tuned in to the increasing levels of stress and disconnect people are feeling in their personal and professional lives. Working from home started out as a novelty with the potential for more balance, but quickly became a recipe for disaster — less separation between work and life has meant more hours, back-to-back meetings, less breaks, no built-in down time, and little to no human interaction or bonding outside immediate home. While all of these factors have led to record-breaking productivity levels, depression and anxiety have simultaneously skyrocketed.
As we go into year two of the pandemic with the same extreme limitations on how we conduct our lives, being deliberate about how we manage our stress and feelings of overwhelm is more important than ever. I’ve found there are some people who are not only surviving during this time, but actually (surprisingly!) thriving. As I started to observe the distinctions between those who were suffering and those who were thriving, I noticed a few patterns. People whose lives have improved are experiencing:
- Strong relationships at home and at work
- A deep sense of purpose
- Connection to nature
I believe there’s something very important about this third item on the list. Being in nature allows us to access what seems like an almost magical ability to calm down, get a grip, and fill up with a sense of connection and rejuvenation.
I believe being connected to nature puts us in touch with our own nature, helping us tap into our own full potential. And that’s my wish for you, especially as this global pandemic drags on: I want you to live a full and rewarding life, starting with a vibrant and meaningful career.
As we reflect on the power of nature, I invite you to take a moment to ask yourself the following questions:
- When can you find moments in your week to be in nature? Whether that’s a walk, a moment in the garden, or a meditation exercise, can you set aside time every week? Every day?
- What are you grateful to our earth for? How has nature impacted your well- being? Think of specific examples…moments of joy, adventure with others, serenity, and solitude.
- What are you doing that creates a positive impact on our planet?
Another negative effect on us from this global pandemic is a feeling of powerlessness, that all we can do is sit at home and wait for this to pass. It’s helpful to remember that there are still lots of wonderful ways we can make a positive impact with the power we still have. In honor of the 51st annual Earth Day celebration on April 22, I encourage you to check out this website for small ways to make a difference this month (and boost your mood while you’re at it): https://www.earthday.org/take-action-now/.
Please share your commitments with me, I’d love to hear from you: email@example.com
Kristine Steinberg is the CEO of Kismet. She believes that your life should be deeply fulfilling — not tolerated. Partner with Kismet to dismantle fear, define your path, and lead with courage. Start your transformation today: www.thisiskismet.com.