Hike More, Worry Less

As the New Year rolls around…

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social media is abuzz with the big question, “What’s your resolution for 2016?”

I’ve never been one to make resolutions on January 1, though I have been led to adopt new habits and attitudes throughout the years.  And really, what is a resolution?  Dictionary.com states that a resolution is the act of coming  to a definite decision about or determining upon an action, course of action, method, procedure, etc.  In other words, it’s committing myself to something, whether it be an activity or a mindset.

In the spirit of this trend, I decided to offer a few suggestions.  Yes, I know we are already into the first week of the year, but, in my book, a new beginning does not necessarily have to start at the beginning!

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West Texas Highway

However, one thing is imperative:  benefits must come as a result of the new action.    One benefit that many, including myself would appreciate is less stress.  So the first suggested resolution is Hike More, Worry Less.

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Yosemite National Park

Actually, there’s real science behind this!  Some super smart researchers at Stanford University found that walking in nature for 90 minutes versus walking in an urban area actually resulted in decreased activity in the part of the brain that focuses on negative thoughts and emotions.

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Hiking near Maroon Bells – Aspen, Co

Another Stanford study found that time in nature had a positive effect on mood and aspects of cognitive function, including working memory, as well as a dampening effect on anxiety.

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Great Smoky Mountain National Park

The people at Stanford seem to have discovered recently what I have know for some time:  getting out in nature improves the mood.  Perhaps it’s because my focus is on the beauty that surrounds me and not the ugly, negative thoughts that like to swim around in my head quite often.

Whatever the case may be, I resolve to embrace this suggestion and go for a hike!

 

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