Become Nature's Ally

Are you tired? Feeling constantly drained? Are you irritable? Impatient? Stressed out?

Maybe it is just me.

Our modern world has moved very far from nature. We no longer rise with the sun and go to bed when it sets. We spend almost zero hours outdoors. Our indoor environments are climate-controlled so that our bodies never need to work to adjust to the heat, humidity, cold, wind, or rain. We keep our cars in garages so we never need to feel uncomfortable, not even for a moment, between our homes, our places of work, and our shopping excursions.

Our food is imported from around the globe so that we can eat apples in the spring and tomatoes in the winter. Everyone can grab a banana every single day of the year no matter where you live. Most of the products we consume do not resemble real, whole foods in any way, shape, or form. Our yogurts are neon green or pink, contain as much sugar as a can of coke, and come in tube-form so they can be squeezed into the mouths of young children sans utensils. Try to make it through a modern supermarket without purchasing something containing added sugar. Good luck.

It is no wonder we are stressed out, sick, and tired!

We push our minds and bodies through a grueling schedule. We get up early to get to work and go to bed late in order to find a little time for relaxation. We often overuse alcohol to create an artificial sense of recreation. We are lucky if we can squeeze in any kind of physical activity. We may be forced to sit at a desk for most of our day, eyes glued to a computer screen, necks straining to hold up our heavy heads in unnatural positions. When we get home at night, we slouch on the couch and glue our eyes to another screen for our entertainment.

So how on earth can we align our lives more with nature? With the natural world we were created to inhabit and with the natural needs of our own bodies and minds?

Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Connection has many thoughts on this matter. He discusses the ways in which the modern world is at odds with our innate nature and offers suggestions on ways we can begin to bring our lives back into balance. Here are a few:

1) Get outside whenever possible! Get into nature. Go for a walk during your lunch break or just eat your sandwich on a park bench instead of at your desk. Look at green, growing plants. The color green has been found to soothe our nervous systems and create feelings of peace.

2) Take off your shoes! Walk barefoot in the grass or the mud or the sand. Wiggle your toes around. Creating this real physical connection with the earth is great for your body's natural alignment, for all the muscles of your feet and lower legs, and will stimulate the many nerve endings in the soles of the feet. You will feel better instantly.

3) Turn off the screens. When you have some time to spend face to face with the people you love, don't put a screen between you. Turn off your phones during dinner. Shut down your computer and have a conversation instead. Young people are interacting almost solely through screens these days. Teach your children to converse, aloud, in addition to texting. Otherwise this will soon be a lost art, along with letter writing, home cooking, and charades.

4) Go to bed! Often we are dead tired, practically walking zombies, before we get the idea to go to sleep. My teenagers seem to think that staying up late is the ultimate in cool. But our bodies and brains need around 8 hours of sleep, minimum, per night. Less than that, and you are likely to suffer in many subtle or not-so-subtle ways. Lack of sleep can cause increased appetite, especially for sweets, as well as irritability, lack of focus and concentration, reduced performance (both mental and physical) and impaired immune response. Basically, we all need adequate sleep in order to function. If you want to feel better in every facet of your life, get enough sleep. Naps count.

These are just a few quick suggestions to get you started on your path toward aligning with your own true nature. Pick up The Primal Connection if you want many more ideas.