I love being able to get out of the city and feel like I’m connected to myself. I get a chance to really reflect on where I am at mentally and emotionally. This past weekend, I finally made it to Joshua Tree. It has been on my list of hiking must-do’s for quite some time, so I decided to go for it. I think I really wanted to go because I needed some time to re-evaluate where I am in life, and also just take a moment to take a deep breath and slow down. A life long goal of mine is to feel as grateful and inspired as possible, and there’s no better way than to get outdoors, for me. Going on hikes always helps calm my mind – I’m not thinking about any errands I need to run or paying my bills – I’m just thinking about which trail I want to explore next. Below are some awesome ways to slow down in order to live a more fulfilled life.
Keep in mind all of these take practice – no one said it’s easy to reach your zen – but it will be worth it!
Keep perspective. How many times have you stressed out because there’s traffic, you are running late, you have a lot of work to do? While all significant in some ways, they are insignificant when you think about everything that life is. These “first world” problems are just that – they are not life threatening, they are not causing real, significant harm to you or anyone else. If you’re reading this you probably have a home to live in, have enough food to eat, have your essentials in surviving. Nature helps provide that sense of perspective – when you’re standing out and looking around you, you tend to feel so small in the vastness of what is on this Earth. What does that traffic jam back home really mean to life?
Disconnect. There is no phone reception in Joshua Tree meaning I wasn’t able to stay connected to Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook – I had no idea what my friends were eating and drinking, but that’s OK. It was so gratifying to know that I could survive without my social media world. If you feel like you’re consumed by the Internet or working at your computer, make sure you take a scheduled daily break where you can be still and quiet. Block out 5 minutes each day – there are 1,440 of them! Go outside for a walk, without your phone and see if it makes a difference when you get back to your desk.
Be present. Have you ever had a conversation with someone and you asked them to repeat what they said because you weren’t totally there? Be mindful with whatever it is you are doing for that moment. When you find your mind drifting off into other areas, come back. Notice yourself, your actions, your environment. It is a conscious way of living that takes practice. I find that when I am actually able to bring myself back into the present, I’m really proud of myself. 😀 Appreciate the company that you are with. You’ll feel so much more satisfaction when you know that you mindfully spent true, quality time with your companion.
If you are in Southern California or are going to visit the area, feel free to use my day trip guide in Joshua Tree as a resource.