Research shows are many reasons why these activities help create mental wellness. Being outside gets us out in the sun, which elevates the mood. People with Seasonal Effective Disorder (SAD) and depression are often treated with light therapy. Too much darkness increases melatonin. Melatonin is needed for sleep, but too much of it can make people depressed and tired. Laughing and playing is proven to make everyone happier. Taking a bit of time each day for fun means we then have enough energy for the rest of our life such as work and it even helps us handle difficult situations better. It is also said that laughter helps us heal. Some hospitals and use humor therapy as part of their program and have found it reduces the need for medication.
|Copyright, Jeff Norris|
The slackline is basically a balance exercise, which means you need to be in tune with yourself. Balance exercises require you to pay attention to your body and really focus on what you are doing. This is never one of my favorite things to focus on because I am very self consious about my size and I often feel like a big bull in a china shop. I would rather forget I even have a physical body, but you can not do that when you are doing any kind of exercise that requires a focus on balance. Slacklining helped me be a little less upset about who I am as I started to just let go, have fun, and focus on learning to balance more. I found that when I started taking stronger antipsychotics a few years ago, my balance was severely effected and even though I stopped taking them, I have never gotten my balance back. I hope slacklining will help me reverse that.
I also found slacklining brings us closer together as a family. We were all encouraging each other and helping each other get across the line. We wanted to see each other succeed and we were all engaged in helping each other reach our goals. (My son is currently working on his best yet, four steps without help from anyone.) When we were on the trampoline, I commented that our neighbors must think we are so weird. Other people have trampolines, but we never see parents using them. Our son, while jumping high up in the air said, "You guys are the best parents and the most fun!" Seriously, how could you not feel happier after hearing that?
|Copyright, Jeff Norris|
They suggest one hour of play per day in Running with Nature and I can tell that the more we try and stick to that suggestion, the better off we will all be.
What will you do today that gets you outside, let's you have fun, and is a bit adventurous?