Fall - the time for cozy sweaters, hot tea, and misty mornings. The urge to bundle up inside while it rains and winds is strong this time of year. More than ever though, we need to commit to time outdoors to balance ourselves.
As we transition into greyer months, we all see a lot less of the sun, and could be in danger of seeing our bright moods fade with the darker days. The sun may hide away for the next few months, but we don't have to. What makes a true West Coaster if not a year-round love for the outdoors, no matter what the weather? Don't let the rain or the chill deter you - it is still really important for us to spend time outside to keep our health balanced and our moods high.
Whether it's just a hum drum attitude, or something more serious like Seasonal Affective Disorder, there are ways to combat the downer days that can accompany longer dark spells. Did you know that spending time near the water - Ocean, river, or otherwise - can help lift you up? (really, is there anything water can't do?) It goes beyond a cleansing feeling, and takes us back to basic chemistry. We are all made up of atoms, which have a balance of energy inside them made up of positive, negative, + neutral particles. Sometimes, these particles get "traded" back and forth, creating Ions, which have positive or negative balances. We won't get into the chemistry more than that (mostly, because we don't want to make a mistake! It's been a long time since High School Science class), but we can talk a little bit about how those Ions affect us.
Apparently, the way we have constructed our lives means that we have a lot of Positive Ions coming at us from electrical equipment like TVs, computers, cell phones, printers, and other commonly used devices. They have been shown to have a negative affect on our bodies when exposed to them in excess, which by the sounds of it, we are constantly!
"An excess of positively charged ions in your environment can contribute to tiredness and a lack of energy, tension, anxiety and irritability. Positive Ions in the air have even been investigated as a contributing factor for asthma, allergies, migraines and depression." - negativeionizers.net
That doesn't sound great, eh? So what's to be done? Find a balance with Negative Ions. Negative Ions occur in great numbers in nature - in forests and moving water, like the Ocean! Cities can be "Positive Ion prisons" with all the electronics and pollutants they contain. Considering that we are beings of this Earth, it should be no surprise that getting back to a natural environment is what is best for us. And apparently this isn't news to us - scientists from eras far before ours have studied the affects of moods from things like waterfalls and storms, where a lot of Negative Ions are produced. These negatively charged atoms have been linked to cleaner air, decreased airborne bacteria, decreased stress, lower blood pressure, better sleep, and improved well-being and mental clarity (among other things).
So what we're saying, is although you may have to pack away your bikini for the next few months, don't stop scheduling in regular beach visits and forest walks. It's not just the calming rhythm of the waves or misty evergreens that boost our moods, it is air we breath in around these natural places, purified by Negative Ions, that recharge us and bring us new energy.
Living in coastal communities gives us the advantage to be able to visit the Ocean often. Not everyone is a year round boater, but for those of you who are, we applaud your commitment! You won't want to be out if it's stormy and dangerous, that's what those cozy days are for. If you do have a boat in the water though, do take advantage of calm Fall waters to get out and connect with the healing energy that the Ocean provides us.
Next time you're feeling a bit low, stroll the beach, walk the trails, follow the river, and let the powers of the outdoors heal you. Make it a goal to do it every week and keep your mood boosted all year long!