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Quick Ways to Get Out in Nature

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– Brain/Mental Health –

Whether you have five minutes, 20 minutes, two hours, or all day, here are some ways to get outside.

If you have five minutes:

  • Sink your bare feet into the grass.
  • Walk mindfully to your next destination.
  • Gaze out the window at something beautiful.

If you have 20 minutes:

  • Go for a walk outside.
  • Eat your lunch outdoors.
  • Lie on your back and gaze at the sky.

If you have two hours:

If you have all day:

  • Take on a gardening project.
  • Take a day trip by canoe or kayak.
  • Go for a long, leisurely bike ride.

This originally appeared as “Nature in Mind” in the June 2020 print issue of Experience Life.


Henry Emmons, MD
is an integrative psychiatrist and the author of The Chemistry of Joy, The Chemistry of Calm, and Staying Sharp. He is the cofounder of NaturalMentalHealth.com.

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Health & Fitness

The 4 Communication Styles – Experience Life

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How knowing these four different communication styles can improve your relationships.

When I was in seventh grade, my friends and I developed a pattern of sulking, almost on a monthly rotation. We’d take turns getting upset about something relatively minor — one friend wouldn’t call when she said she would, another would flirt with that cute boy we’d all been crushing on.

Whatever the origin of the sulk, the aggrieved party would insist, “I’m not mad.” Resolving the conflict became impossible, because no one would ever admit they were angry.

I didn’t know it at the time, but that behavior is a classic example of passive-aggressive communication — and it’s an ineffective way to get your point across.

So why do some people persist in long sighs, insincere denials, and other hallmarks of passive aggression? It’s not that they’re stuck in middle school, experts say. It’s just one of the four basic communication styles: passive, passive-aggressive, aggressive, and assertive.

Our communication style can be a powerful tool in building meaningful connections with others. Though our way of communicating may vary depending on the situation and the individual, we all tend to gravitate toward one dominant mode — and sometimes get entrenched in bad habits.

Research suggests the assertive style is the healthiest and most effective, although it’s normal to use one of the other types on occasion. When communication breaks down, it’s often because of conflicting styles.

“Communicating effectively is a good way to lower the amount of stress we’re experiencing individually and collectively,” says psychologist Randy Paterson, PhD, author of The Assertiveness Workbook. “As we think about the pain in the world, think about how much stems from people feeling profoundly alienated from one another.”

Understanding your own com­munication style — and learning how to identify the types of those around you — can foster more compassion and mutual respect in your most important relationships.

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