Watching Birds, Trees is Good for Mental Health

According to a study led by University of Exeter researcher Daniel Cox, people living in neighborhoods with more birds, shrubs and trees are less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and stress.

Dr. Cox and his colleagues from the University of Maryland, the University of Queensland in Australia, the British Trust for Ornithology and the University of Exeter in the UK, surveyed mental health in 263 people from different ages, incomes and ethnicities.

“All the participants lived within the urban limits of the so-called ‘Cranfield triangle,’ a region in southern England, UK, comprising the three adjacent towns of Milton Keynes, Luton, and Bedford,” the researchers said.

They found benefits for mental health of being able to see birds, shrubs and trees around the home, whether people lived in urban or more leafy suburban neighborhoods. They also found that those who spent less time out of doors than usual in the previous week were more likely to report they were anxious or depressed. MORE

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Mountain laurel Coloring Page

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Moving into Being

“If your legs let you down you can still dance with your hands and reach those forgotten parts of living in the process. Rosetta Life at St Michael’s Hospice, Hereford,UK.”

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Wire Fox Terrier Coloring Page

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B.K.S. Iyengar–Hatha Yoga Demonstration

After a few years of practicing Kripalu style hatha yoga, in the late 70’s I switched to Iyengar style as I the sequences fit me better and the teachers seemed to have a more in-depth knowledge of Hatha Yoga. I had a chance to meet and chat with Iyengar with a small group of folks in the mid-1980’s in Philadelphia.

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Xi Wang-Mu Coloring Page

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We walk together

In my work with clients/patients I sometimes use the written word to help process what they are feeling and what I am feeling about working with them. Last year I spent some time working at a residential drug/alcohol rehab center and wrote a short poem about one experience.

1. We walk together
toe to heal
In the way we came here

Youngest to oldest – Male to female –
Opiate to alcohol – Forceps to stone

2. We all
Everyone of us
walk for a reason

3. Up the hill
breathlessly
we reach the top

4. around the pond and into the trees
A shelter – A holding
in the environment

5. Close your eyes
Notice your breath – As you inhale – as you exhale
Feel the wind – notice the smells – the scent of the earth

The sunlight and shadows sway back and forth to the rhythm of the branches moving in the wind

6. Don’t be afraid – shiver- cry out – weep – scream
We are all killers inside
We are all healers inside
Our blood runs through the veins of our ancestors
And is here to stay – an echo of times now gone

A dream of times yet to come

Interpretation

1. Today I took my clients outside to the park. We walked in a pecking order; the client with the most time were in front followed by the others in order of time, drug of choice, sex, finally by age. It was a metaphor for their life journey, of their choices and circumstances thrust on them from birth.

2. In the clients (and us all) our journey is a reflection of who and where we came from. Our personality and our history. Our wants and needs. Our understanding of these things. In this residential rehab clients have come because of an intersection of factors, both internal and external.

3. The walk with the clients took us up a sharp and steep hill, the last little leg of our walk before we reached the park and the pond. The walk of addiction is a mighty hard row to hoe in the discovery of the self

4. The clients were very happy to see the pond and dogs and people, and we headed for the trees to find some sanctuary. This little stand of trees I felt would be a good holding environment to do a movement meditation in a public space.

5. I led the group through a meditation in the environment, giving them a chance to be calm/passive and feel nature, with its enormous power. Like that higher power that 12 step teaches. Also nature has a rhythm that we, as earthlings cannot escape, it is deep inside us, with us since the womb.

6. In the mediation I encouraged the group to go to where it was safe and to go a little beyond safety, to a new place. Being different (clean/sober) in a setting (park) that is familiar is challenging. They will face that challenge when they leave the rehab. As addicts they must accept their dark side, and they must recognize their light side. This killer and healer is the story of being human, told by all cultures since we first lit a fire and huddled together. It is this story telling that teaches us to remember the mistakes so we know what to do if we make them and know how to avoid them.

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