Take time to smell the flowers on Fridays

How long is it since you've sat on the lawn and made a daisy chain?


I hope its not too long....and maybe if it is, you'll find time this year to do just that...whether by yourself or with someone else.



I remember sitting with my sister making them when we were little - but I always got frustrated as she had nails and so could split the stems, but I used to bite my nails so couldn't ever do it!


I think with these large daisies in the photos from our garden, even without nails, I'd have been able to do it!  And think what a great big chain I could have made!


These daisies have multiplied so much. I hardly remember us having any before - but this year, they seem to just be happy showing their smiling faces to the sunshine.



I have some friends coming round for lunch tomorrow so I have some daisies for the table and also some in the napkin rings.  Don't think we'll be making daisy chains however....but you never know!!!


Did you take time to stop and smell the flowers this week?  Spending time in nature is good for our health, so how about planning a daisy chain party this year?  Invite a few friends around, sit on the lawn, chatting and making pretty little daisy chains! If you do - please invite me. I'd love to join in. :-D
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Nature's Medicine

If you read my "everything is tickety-boo" post on Sunday, you will have noticed that one of the items on my list was "spending time in nature".

It sounds pretty insignificant, but there has actually been quite a bit of research going on regarding the health benefits of spending time in nature.


In Japan, "Shinrin-yoku" (defined as wood air bathing or forest bathing) has been receiving increased attention in recent years for its ability to provide relaxation and reduce stress.  Trees, sunshine, grass, and wildlife all too frequently take a backseat in city or urban life, but spending even small amounts of time in a natural setting can help ease mental fatigue, lower levels of pain from cancer, improve immune function, and lower average blood sugar in patients in type 2 diabetes.

Think back to the last time you were surrounded by nature - maybe a hike when you noticed the vibrant fresh green of a new leaf, or an insect, or the color of the bark of a tree, or saw a rabbit hop past.  These moments of discovery and fascination are spontaneous and effortless kinds of attention, not like the attention we have to use at work or during most of our day.  As we follow our curiosity from the leaf to a flower to a butterfly, we relax in an exploration of nature which gives our attention driven brain a break.

Photo by Nicholas_T
Sounds in nature are also important, for example the calming sound of water that acts to balance the body's hormones, as too as smells.  Airborne chemicals emitted by plants - phytoncides - are seen to enhance NK (natural killer) cell activity ( part of the immune system).

Photo by VinothChandar

Here are just a couple of research studies that have shown the health benefits of taking time in nature, but there are many more:

1. Weinstein BJ (Jun 2010) Spending Time in Nature Makes People Feel More Alive, Study Shows. Retrieved September 26th, 2010, from University of Rochester: http://www.rochester.edu/news/show.php?id=3639

2. Li Q (2010) A day trip to a forest park increases human natural killer activity and the expression of anti-cancer proteins in male subjects. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents;24(2):157-65.


3. Li Q (2008) Visiting a forest, but not a city, increases human natural killer activity and expression of anti-cancer proteins. Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol;21(1):117-127.

Photo by VinothChandar
So consider giving yourself a break, and find some time this week to be in nature. Let that effortless attention and fascination take over.  And if you aren't up for that - try bringing some nature indoors to you - open the windows, look at the trees, listen to the sound of a waterfall on your computer, put a nature screensaver on your computer screen, watch a nature DVD....
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