KB16 - The Friday 4 - Come To The EdgeMay 26, 2023
Read Time: 7 Minutes
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#1 - Shinrin Yoku
"What in the world is Shinrin-Yoku?" I hear you ask.
Well, it's not some obscure sushi dish or a new form of yoga. It's as old as the trees themselves and far simpler than you might think.
Directly translated from Japanese, Shinrin-Yoku means "forest bathing," it's all about soaking up the natural environment through your senses.
As you take a deep breath, you inhale the fresh, cool air perfumed by pine needles and damp earth. Your ears pick up on the wind rustling through the leaves, a distant bird's soft cooing, and a small creature's rustle in the undergrowth.
The world outside the forest seems a distant memory. And suddenly, those things you were so worried about?
They don't seem to matter as much.
The art of Shinrin-Yoku lies in the ability to engage with the present moment fully. It's about unplugging from the incessant buzz of the digital world and the constant chatter of our own minds.
Shinrin-Yoku isn’t going to solve all your problems.
But it can provide a much-needed pause, a chance to reflect and reset. And in our frantic, chaotic world, maybe that's just what we all need.
#2 - Come to the Edge
I read a poem this week that I want to speak about.
Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It’s too high!
COME TO THE EDGE!
And they came,
and he pushed,
And they flew.
- Christopher Logue
Christopher Logue's poem is not about standing on some literal cliff.
It's about the metaphorical edges in our lives, the ones we come up against when we can grow, change, and evolve into something more.
Those moments where we're standing on the precipice of a decision or a change. Should we take that new job? Should we end that relationship? Should we move to a new city?
"We might fall." That's the voice of fear right there. It's the nagging doubt that makes us second-guess ourselves. It's that little prickling sensation in the pit of our stomach that makes us step back from the edge and retreat into the safe, comfortable cocoon of familiarity.
"It's too high!" That's fear in full force, holding us back, whispering in our ears that it's better to play it safe than risk failing or getting hurt.
But then the poem takes a turn. "COME TO THE EDGE!" This line is the voice of courage, of audacity, of defiance.
It's the voice that drowns out fear and compels us to take that leap, embrace the unknown, and take that risk. And guess what happens? They come, they get pushed, and "they fly." They didn't fall. They didn't crash…
We don't know if we can fly until we take that leap.
The fear will always be there, whispering that we might fall, that it's too high, that it's safer to stay where we are.
But staying where we are means stagnation. It means not growing. It means not living our lives fully.
#3 - Glimmers
Something that I talk about a lot is “Triggers.”
These are the day-to-day things that cause you to get angry and respond.
Today, I want to discuss the opposite of triggers: "Glimmers.”
Glimmers are those tiny sparks of positivity, the fleeting moments of joy, comfort, and connection that light up our lives like tiny stars in the night sky.
These can be anything from the warmth of a friend's smile to the euphoria of nailing that tough workout, from the soothing calm of a deep breath to the satisfaction of sinking into your bed after a long day.
Life, for the most part, can be a grind.
We're constantly dealing with shitstorms of stress, worry, disappointment, and every other negative emotion under the sun.
But amidst the chaos, amidst the turmoil, there are these moments – these glimmers – that shine brightly, if only for a split second.
The trick here isn't to chase these glimmers or try to manufacture them. Because, let's be honest, we can't force a genuine moment of joy or connection any more than we can force a puppy to stay still.
The trick is to be present and in tune with ourselves and our surroundings, so we can recognise and appreciate these glimmers when they appear.
#4 - Your Daily D.O.S.E
Many years ago, I read an incredible book by Simon Sinek titled “Leaders Eat Last”
and it was in this book one of the chapters, “A D.O.S.E of Happiness”, really stood out for me, with dose standing for...
Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin and Endorphins.
So let’s dive into each one, explain them better, and see how you unlock the keys to these happiness hormones...
Dopamine - The Motivation And Reward Chemical
We can do a few things daily for a positive dopamine hit that doesn’t involve our mobile phones.
Meditation and Mindfulness: Regular meditation and mindfulness practice can increase dopamine levels. This practice reduces stress and promotes a positive outlook.
Listening to Music: Studies have shown that listening to music you enjoy can increase dopamine release.
Eat Protein: Proteins are full of amino acids, including tyrosine. Tyrosine is used by the body to produce dopamine.
Oxytocin - The Love And Connection Chemical
Oxytocin is often called the "bonding hormone" or "love hormone" because it plays a crucial role in forming social bonds and maintaining relationships.
Here are some habits and activities that can stimulate the release of oxytocin:
Physical Affection: Hugging, cuddling, and other forms of touch can stimulate the release of oxytocin. This is one reason why physical affection can make us feel closer and more connected to people.
Helping Others: Acts of kindness and generosity towards others can promote the release of oxytocin. This can include volunteering or doing something nice for a friend or loved one.
Petting Animals: Spending time with animals, especially pets, has been shown to increase oxytocin levels.
Serotonin - The Mood Enhancer Chemical
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a significant role in mood regulation, sleep, appetite, well-being, and happiness.
Here are some habits and activities that can help to increase serotonin levels naturally:
Sunlight: Exposure to sunlight can increase the brain's production of serotonin, boosting your mood and helping to keep your circadian rhythms in balance.
Socialising: Spending time with people you care about can boost your mood and increase your serotonin levels. This can be family, friends, or anyone you enjoy being around.
Massage: Studies show that massage can increase serotonin levels by nearly 30%. This can lead to improved mood and reduced stress and anxiety.
Endorphins - The Reduction of Pain and Stress Chemical
Endorphins are often referred to as the body's "feel-good" chemicals. They are neurotransmitters that help relieve pain and reduce emotional stress. Here are some positive habits that can naturally stimulate the release of endorphins:
Exercise: Regular physical activity is one of the most effective ways to increase the release of endorphins. This is often called the "runner's high," but it doesn't just apply to running - any form of vigorous exercise can do it.
Laughter: Laughing has been shown to increase endorphin levels. Find something that makes you laugh, whether a comedy show, a funny movie, or time spent with friends who make you giggle.
Deep Breathing and Relaxation Techniques: These activities can help reduce stress and stimulate endorphin release.
As you can see from the above, you can stimulate most of your happiness chemicals without costing anything!
👉 Shinrin-Yoku is all about getting out in nature, being present and enjoying the simple things we need to experience more often.
👉 Coming to the edge of anything is scary, but it’s the only way to achieve your goals and fly.
👉 Look for Daily Glimmers in your life. They are always there; you just have to look around and find them.
👉 The best things in life are free. Laugh often, spend time with the people you love and don't forget to sweat. These are the things that will give you a happy life.
I hope you enjoyed this week's Friday Four, and I’ll see you next week for more.
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