Of all the advice available to us on wellbeing—what to eat and not eat, what our lifestyle should be, how to manage stress, how much exercise we need and what we should get from our relationships—the idea that we can create our way to being well sounds too simple. But like many simple truths, it’s easy to miss and very hard to do.

There are giant, simple truths about the way we need to live in modern life that we miss because we’re so busy complicating things.  Tweet This Quote

I have felt for a long time that there are giant, simple truths about the way we need to live in modern life that we miss because we’re so busy complicating things.

If this quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes gives you a sense of satisfaction, then you’re at least somewhat the same. He said, “I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity.”

I’m looking for a unified theory – not of the cosmos, but of a way for life on earth to survive modern times. I’ve tried out a number of theories over time…

Theory 1.

If everyone spent time in nature, we would not have the scope of problems we have.

Think about the impact of that, of what we would come to feel, what we would notice. We would find out we’re a part of this extraordinary ecosystem, we would honor and connect to life on earth. We could not help but put our issues, and our lives in perspective. There is growing evidence for the truth of this. From The Power of Nature: Ecotherapy and Awakening: “A few years ago researchers at the University of Essex found that, of a group of people suffering from depression, 90 percent felt a higher level of self-esteem after a walk through a country park, and almost three-quarters felt less depressed. Another survey by the same research team found that 94 percent of people with mental illnesses believed that contact with nature put them in a more positive mood. Since then, in the UK contact with nature has been increasingly used as a therapy by mental health professionals.” DUH!

But this is what nature looks like now in some parts of the world. Not everyone has access, or even a tree. This is a photo I shot at the dock en route to the airport in Sierra Leone.

Perhaps this is where it all started – the kind of thinking that has formed our mental models: Evidently one day a man took Socrates out for a walk beyond the walls of the city, tried to get him to sit down under a tree to talk. Socrates said, “You must forgive me, my dear friend. I’m a lover of learning, and trees and open country won’t teach me anything, whereas men in the town do.”

Just imagine if he had said, “Holy cow, look at that tree. How amazing, how does it do what it does, think of all the things we can learn from it.” Maybe if it was this tree in Monte Alban, Oaxaca, Mexico, it would have been different. But no. Many people still don’t think they have much to learn from nature. It seems we have to give ideas a “tech” sounding name and bring them up in a windowless conference room in order to appreciate them.

Oh well. But I have not given up.

Theory 2.

If everyone read the New Yorker, the world would have fewer problems. Farfetched you say? Listen to this.

It would mean that everyone could afford it. Everyone could read. Everyone would get their news not 24/7 focused on disaster and conflict and sensationalism, but once a week, filtered by reason and erudition. With time to digest, and time to reflect before making judgements and drawing conclusions.

And here’s a few facts about the average reader of the New Yorker:

  • Average Household Income – $116,807
  • Education – Graduated College+ 68%
  • Employment Status – Full-Time 50%
  • Employment Status – Professional/Managerial 45%
  • Marital Status – Married 54%

Chicken? Or egg?

But, there’s the cost, at almost $60.00 a year, and the environmental cost of production, not to mention the lack of iPads for 90% of the people in the world…

For every complex system there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong. – H.L. Mencken  Tweet This Quote

Oh well. But I’m here to argue for another.

Theory 3.

If every person and organization practiced the creative process, the world would be a far healthier place.

There is a stereotype of the creative personality, and perhaps genius is close to madness, but is it more mad than the civilization we’ve built? David Orr said that, “As homo sapiens’ entry in any intergalactic design competition, industrial civilization would be tossed out at the qualifying round.”

He’s talking about our entire civilization – the thing we’re most proud of as humans is fatally flawed from the standpoint of sustainability. So who’s crazier, Van Gogh or the rest of us? Aren’t we crazy to have designed this so called civilization? And isn’t it even more crazy that we don’t know how to stop?

Before we go any further, it’s important to define just what creating is. For that, I’m using Robert Fritz’s model, who has written several wonderful books on creativity and how to master it.

The first three steps in the process determine the quality of everything after. What I love about this model is that it is not elitist; it’s not a version only for experts. Having spent my life as a professional creator, though, I can say that it applies there too. This is creativity at a deep, universal, accessible level, applicable to everyone, necessary for survival.

  • Begin by figuring out what you want to create. Start with the purpose. It’s amazing to me how frequently people forget these essential steps.
  • Next, define the end state with as much detail as possible. What will it look like, feel like, smell like. How big is it? Bring it to life as fully as you can.
  • Then, with as much objectivity – and whatever metrics are available, map the current reality. Where are you RIGHT NOW? What is the truth, however ugly. Where do you stand in relation to where you want to be? What resources do you have or not have that you need? The vision maintains optimism – it makes the place you’re going to real. The current state keeps you honest about what you need to do to get there.

And according to Robert Fritz, structural tension is what drives it. The point is to keep this tension—to come to recognize the feeling and love it. Let it drive the forward momentum. Fritz says that artists are continually evaluating and recalculating the distance between where they are and where they want to be.

The really big difference between a technocratic approach and the creative process is that when we create we don’t pretend to have the answer before we get to it. In fact, we relish not knowing – we learn to navigate uncertainty. Which is one of the most important skills anyone can have.

Why is that so important? Because if you look at the interconnected, complex problems we face now, it’s clear, whether we want to admit it or not, that we are completely uncertain of how to change the way we live on this planet. We have lots of ideas for how to eliminate symptoms… but we simply cannot know from where we stand what the impact of removing symptoms will be on the whole system.

Sometimes it helps to understand what creating is by looking at what it’s not.

It’s not design thinking, which tries to provide a formula for something that is inherently not formulaic. Besides, in over thinking, we have lost the connection between design and creativity. There are dozens of books, programs, cases, conversations on design thinking as the “solution” and as the way to innovate. In fact, creating and design have been hijacked by design thinking. It’s been co-opted by business and for the most part, business does not reward or appreciate navigation of the unknown. Business likes to think it knows where it’s going.

Creating is causing something to come into being that didn’t exist before.
Having an idea, realizing it.

It’s not problem solving, which is making something we don’t want go away. Polluted water, poverty, disease. We need to make them go away once we have them. But we find that we make one disease go away only to fight another. Pass legislation that stops one toxin from being sold only to find another, and we are losing the fight. Bucky Fuller says it beautifully here:

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.  Tweet This Quote

But problem solving is the way our society and our institutions approach the future. We are addicted to the notion of solutions. Problem solving feels logical, known, certain and predictable. Just look around at the number of companies that advertise what they are selling as solutions to something.

Because we are more comfortable with problem solving, we take on complex challenges with a technocratic approach. Technocratic approaches seek to optimize incremental improvements through efficiency gains.

Tightly controlled five year plans provide comfort. They look real, and secure. Within foundations, business and government, money is provided for solutions only because someone can create a sense of confidence in what will happen several years out. But of course they can’t.

One extreme example is New Jersey’s Relief Fund, which has gotten a lot of press for missing the mark so radically in terms of getting the money to those who needed it:

The nature of plans is that they try to predict the future instead of creating it. The Soviet Union is a good case in point. And a great example of the difference between planning and creating.

The truth is, hard as it is for some to accept, there are some things you simply can’t do in Excel.

How creating makes us healthy:

So given all that, how and why is it that creating makes us healthier as individuals, and organizations? What does it teach us? What are the benefits?

  1. We learn to clarify and align on vision and purpose. To talk about it. Out loud.
  2. We learn to communicate. We develop relationships. And relationships are the beginning and end of life.

  3. We observe the state of reality objectively and without agenda.
  4. We develop a shared sense of reality, we see what’s there, not what we want to see. We see the same things and can hopefully agree about what they are.

  5. We learn to experiment and play.
  6. We learn to be less stressed, to feel secure. Good things happen when we play – and when we are relaxed. Experiments are where new ideas come from.

    Lean Startup is an example of experimentation at work. Last May the Harvard Business Review ran an article called: “Why the lean start-up changes everything.” According to the article the Lean Startup, “… favors experimentation over elaborate planning, customer feedback over intuition, and iterative design over traditional ‘big design up front’ development.” See?

  7. We do and learn from doing.
  8. It gets us out of our heads and into our bodies. When we create, we’re doing, not just thinking, we move rather than sit in chairs all day. Living only in our brains is not natural. And not healthy. And we miss so much of life.

  9. It teaches us to make decisions based on what is happening, not a prior plan.
  10. We learn to navigate uncertainty. It gives us sea legs and better balance in uncertain times.

  11. It makes us observant, fluid, agile.
  12. Being aware is necessary for survival. We notice. We respond. Jared Diamond, in the introduction of one of his books said that the average New Guinean is smarter than the average Londoner – that the skills and intelligence needed to survive in the jungle are far greater than the skills required to get on the tube and go to the same job every day.

  13. It shifts our focus from financial resources to all the other types of critical resources needed for survival.
  14. Business doesn’t reward or appreciate navigation of the unknown. Business likes to think it knows where it’s going.  Tweet This Quote

    It gives us more to be grateful for: human capital, social capital, natural capital, physical capital. We know, from so much research and evidence, that money alone is not a motivator. According to Gallup’s calculations, “Actively disengaged employees – the least productive – cost the American economy up to $350 billion per year in lost productivity.” And, there is proof all around us that when individual’s wills and interests are involved, when they have an opportunity to co-create, anything can be done. There is no limit.

  15. Creating can only take place in the present.
  16. Living in the present has proven benefits; we are aware of sensations, and awareness of sensations can rewire the brain. This kind of rewiring the brain through awareness of sensations is some of the most exciting work being done now with survivors of severe trauma.

  17. It gives us an inner joy, a sense of fulfillment, of self-reliance.
  18. It has the potential to fill the void we’ve been filling with junk food and consumptive habits.

Creating is causing something to come into being that didn’t exist before. Having an idea, realizing it.  Tweet This Quote

Picasso said, “The artist goes through states of fullness and emptiness and that is all there is to the mystery of art.”

Then John Baldessari said, “You have to be possessed, which you cannot will.”

We are all possessed with and by something. And we can all create. So I am sticking to my third unified theory of what we need to survive modern human life.

About the author

Cheryl Heller

Cheryl Heller

Cheryl Heller is the Founding Chair of the first MFA program in Design for Social Innovation at SVA, founder of design lab CommonWise, and a pioneer in social impact design. Cheryl received the AIGA medal for her contribution to the field of design in 2014. She is the former Board Chair and founding faculty for the PopTech Social Innovation Fellows, a Senior Fellow at Babson Social Innovation Lab, and the Innovation Advisory Board for the Lumina Foundation. She created the Ideas that Matter program for Sappi, which has given over $12 million to designers working for the public good.

  • Frank_Stanek

    Since the time I was a little kid building with Legos and taking my imagination new places, I have appreciated the sense of enjoyment that can be obtained when you allow yourself to be creative. While I may no longer play with Legos (though I still have them) I do try and still keep my imagination active and find ways to be creative in my day to day life. It really does strike me as a shame that people’s lives are so busy that they don’t seem to allow time to let their imaginations and creativity out.

  • Leija2014

    I really liked how you compared the feeling of enjoyment to the building of the Legos. Just that sense of compassion that you’re doing something that makes you happy and letting your imagination run wild is something everyone I hope has experienced at least once I’m their lifetime!

  • Jennifer Lynn

    I think this is an interesting take on life and how we all go about life. the quote “Creating is causing something to come into being that didn’t exist before. Having an idea, realizing it” is powerful to me. We need to look at life and create new things, new ideas, new “beings.” We can’t stay cooped up in the comfortable lives we have now. We need to put ourselves out there and come up with imaginative creations. I think all people could benefit from the taking their ideas and creating something new. Do you think people explore their creativity to its full potential? I think there could be so many amazing creations if people would act on their ideas.

  • kristinwagner32

    I agree. I love how you say the new “beings” part. I think everyone is special in their own way and need to learn or put themselves out their to show off their creations. So many people are overlooked simply because they are too comfortable where they are in life now and do not like taking risks. Well life is all about risks and you won’t find happiness if you are constantly regretting that one thing you have always wanted to try and endure. Thanks for the article!

  • Connor Driscoll

    Thanks for posting! I think this applies to everyone who desires to truly live and not just go through the motions each day. For example, when I’m feeling down I tend to realize that the reasons I am feeling that way are because I am complicating things in my own head. Then, when I readjust my outlook on life and start living in the present all is good in my life. Cheryl, why is it that appreciation of nature is so overlooked?

  • Jake Eckhardt

    Pretty great article. My favorite part was about nature’s effect on mental health. During the summer when I feel stressed I bike down to the lake and just stand on the pier for a while looking at fish. It makes me feel so much better. Winter and being stuck inside all day has the opposite effect. Hence why I am moving to Arizona in a couple months 🙂

  • Jake Eckhardt

    I agree. Living in the present definitely relieves a lot of stress, but can be terribly hard to do sometimes, especially during this part of the semester.

  • Jake Eckhardt

    I agree. Living in the present definitely relieves a lot of stress, but can be terribly hard to do sometimes, especially during this part of the semester.

  • Jake Eckhardt

    I agree with this also. People, including myself, will resort to “time wasters” such as browsing facebook or other websites. If all of used that time to focus on creating something, the results would be amazing.

  • Jake Eckhardt

    I agree with this also. People, including myself, will resort to “time wasters” such as browsing facebook or other websites. If all of used that time to focus on creating something, the results would be amazing.

  • Jake Eckhardt

    This post motivated me to be more conscious of my imagination. How often do we go through everyday life doing the same exact things because they’ve become routine? I think living in the present and using your imagination whenever possible could be very stress relieving. Thanks.

  • Jake Eckhardt

    This post motivated me to be more conscious of my imagination. How often do we go through everyday life doing the same exact things because they’ve become routine? I think living in the present and using your imagination whenever possible could be very stress relieving. Thanks.

  • MeierKM23

    Thank you for posting this. I think this is very true. Growing up I have learned and still learning to live everyday to the fullest and not just go through the motions and take things for granted, even though I do and don’t even realize it. Even though your whole article is very interesting, I really like your first theory. I come from a very rural area and grew up around my cousins farm, and always loved being outside and still do. I did a persuasive speech for my Communication class last semester, persuading my peers to live in the country/rural area in the future instead of the city. In doing some of my research, I found that just being outside near the country can help relieve stress, improve self-esteem, and help with depression and found many articles about it. I am not saying living in the city is bad or don’t like it, but growing up where I did, I can’t see myself living in a big city. It is hard to see, though, that not everybody has a spot they can go like most of us do and wish there was! Also I enjoyed how being creative can make us healthy! Overall great article!

  • Logan Dohmeier

    I think that the article you have written is very comprehensive in that so many ideas are touched on and all are important! I think one of my favorite parts is in the beginning when you talk about nature playing a big part in avoiding problems. We can learn so much from nature and how it works as well as it being an excellent therapeutic approach to eliminating stress and other prevalent metal disorders. As humans we are relying too much on technology and drugs to fix a lot of our problems, but in reality it is not natural and like you have stated, a new problem will arise. The only thing I may disagree with was your statement on how we shouldn’t problem solve, but we should build new models; to me that seems like the same exact thing. You are solving the problem by building a new model.. Finally, I think the 8 steps you have listed in order to be healthy are fantastic. There is a lot of good advice people can use and different people can take different approaches to the advice that is listed. Allowing for diversity is so crucial. Great article.

  • Eain Mon

    I think article is so interesting since it touches on a lot of aspects in life that are important and relatable. I recently learned in one of my classes that one can reduce their stress levels and have a good sleep pattern when in contact with abundance of natural light, which definitely relates to the idea of nature’s effects on mental health. This article also applies to a lot of people that would love to live a life without any complications. It is so true that people tend to complicate things. Thank you for the article!

  • Amy Pham

    I agree with you in this. I totally think that the world without imaginations is plain mundane. It is also really effective to release your stress too. For me, every time I am stress with school or works, I would try to imagine the beautiful places like Maldives/Hawaii and they actually helped a lot. Creativity also plays a big role in motivating my daily life and take me away from the boring routine I have to repeat. If you like Legos and being creative with your imagination, there’s a game that you can try is Minecraft, you can find it on most platforms (Xbox,Ps3,Smartphones,Computer). I am sure you will enjoy it!

  • Cory Zaeske

    I agree that it touches a lot of the aspects in everyday life. I especially agreed with number 3 on the list which was good things happen when we play. Being relaxed is such a key to accomplishing things in life. I know or a fact when I am stressed I tend to do things too fast and too careless because my mind is on other things. There are many things you can do to help yourself relax and when you are relaxed good things happen! Thank you for sharing!

  • Caroline Brewka

    Cheryl, thank you so much for your article! I could not agree more. I particularly appreciated the bit about how we have made problem solving the approach to the future. I find that if we do not understand the string of events that lead to a less than desirable outcome, that quite often our solutions are in fact, the problem in and of itself. We have become so fixated on fixing things, that we neglect to see the often obvious and simple solutions in front of us. All of this would become apparent if we stepped back from our busy lives and do such things as you suggested; spend time with nature, channel our inner creative beings, etc. Thanks again for your article. Its an important message to spread.

  • Anthony Urbanski

    I am with Logan on problem solving. If we build a new model, aren’t we just problem solving in a more unconventional way? We might not be fighting the problem head on but the purpose of building the new model is to make the problem obsolete, therefore we are indirectly fighting it. With that being said, I love theory three, people need to spend more time in the creative process. Is there any one or two of the eight creativity points that are most important?

  • Jen McKiernan

    Thank you for this post. This is such an interesting way to view life. First off, I love how you started with needing to spend more time in nature. I go to Arizona often and I always go hiking while I’m out there and spending time in the mountains is one of my favorite things to do. I also love how you explained how creating makes us healthy. I have never thought of how many great benefits come from creating something. Even if you try to create something and don’t succeed the process you go through still helps you grow so much. I think more people need to get off of social networks and start using their imaginations more.

  • Leija2014

    I agree with your comment! I myself tend to rush through things or am more careless when I’m stressed out. I think you’re right that we need to be more relaxed in this fast paced world we live in.

  • Keeli Gilbert

    This article was really well written. Such a joy to read. I agree with you that there are things we could do differently for a better sense of well-being. Just wondering which one you follow the absolute most. I really liked and could relate with Theory #1. “If everyone spent time in nature, we would not have the scope of problems we have.”

    I loved this because I feel like no body does any of those things, or thinks of nature as a place to go to find a sense of well-being. For me, this is a place to really talk to myself and understand what my body wants and what my head is really telling me.
    Thanks again for the new perspective!

  • Kendra Larson

    I also have to agree that spending more time in nature is a healthy way of life. Whether it’s spending time in the mountains, like you have addressed or spending time by an ocean. Being in nature definitely brings about great benefits. I myself love spending time by the ocean whenever I get the chance. Also, I agree that awesome benefits do come from creating something. When you create something, the accomplished feeling that you get is the best part! Not only does it make you feel good, but you feel more fulfilled within your life.

  • Brandon

    Thanks for the article!! I agree with that if we just focus on a few things that help make us healthier. This only helps improve on areas we may not be good at “We do and learn from doing” Its only right to experience from eating foods that may not good for the body or not studying for a test. It helps us be who we are today. Thanks again for the great article!!!.

  • Amy Rink

    Thank you for posting this article! I really enjoyed reading it and it gave me a new perspective on how to view other things. I really enjoyed Theory #1, I love being outside and in nature and if more people took the time to value the outdoors I do believe like you said, the issues would begin to decrease. Now a days our society is so much into the new technology and many don’t seem to find the time to appreciate the nature anymore. What theory do you find to be most important?

  • Junhan Shi

    Very good post. The part of nature effects of mental health is very useful. Most time we do not know how to release our high stress and pressure, and we usually hide it inside of our heart. We know that this is very bad for our mental health, and sometimes if people accumulate too much stress, it will cause very terrible result. However, the nature view effects shows us a very useful way to eliminate our stress, and it does have some positive effect for high pressure people. Therefore, I think I will try to use this method in the future, and I will also recommend it to others.

  • weidmankl15

    I completely agree when you say we need to look at life and create new things and ideas. Putting ourselves out there can create so many new ideas, we just have to take the risk of doing it. To answer your question, I personally do not think that people put full potential to their creativity. I sure know that I do not, but I really need to try to.

  • Frank_Stanek

    I have actually played Minecraft and I do agree with people’s labeling it as “Lego’s for Adults”. If you want a great example of how something as simple as this lets peple express themselves, search YouTube for Minecraft and you’ll find worlds that people have built on everything from Star Wars to Hogwarts. A great example.

  • Frank_Stanek

    Reading also works for me as well. While it’s not as interactive in a physical sense, it does ignite my imaginatio more than any other thing currently in my life.

  • Dakota Lamb

    I think this article is a very insightful one, especially for a college student such as myself. I always find myself overcomplicating decisions and actions while everything could be simplified. I chose to attend a University in Colorado that has a strong emphasis on the outdoors; however, the part of this article that suggested reading the new yorker in order to micromanage my time better is one that I will definitely have to look into. In addition, looking over this and contemplating finding ways to simplify your life, eliminating the causes of stress is something that I hope to slowly learn to work my way towards.

  • BartuchGR11

    Thank you for posting this article. I think found it very helpful because I often make tasks that I do more complicated than they need to be when they really could be more simple. For example, getting up in the morning and picking what shoes to wear with my outfit. I will change my shoes twice before I pick the right ones and I am always then rushing. I could have simplified this issue by laying out my shoes the night before and then I wouldn’t be so rushed in the morning. I agree that we should only focus on a few things at a time that make us healthier. It can really help.

  • masterdan55

    I agree with you brandon!

  • Angela Hoch

    I also found this article to be very helpful because I also try to juggle too much at once. I have habit of overthinking tasks and making them more complicated than they need to actually be. I really liked your example about getting up in the morning and picking out what shoes to wear with your outfit. I do the same exact thing! It’s like we know that if we just took the time to do it the night before, this situation wouldn’t be happening. Such a good point.

  • KevinThomson32

    We must make mistakes in order to be successful. If you don’t take any risks your life is going to be extremely boring. You have to try different things and see what works for you.

  • Jessica Andrew

    Thank you for sharing this article. I really liked your theory about nature. I really enjoy being outside. I don’t understand how some people don’t like to go outside and take in the nature. What is your favorite theory?

  • Jessica Andrew

    I agree with you 100%. I also had this same question. I love being outside enjoying nature. Like you said, people are too caught up in technology today that it seems like they forgot how to enjoy being outside. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jansscor16

    This is a great article. I really liked theory number 1 about nature. One summer in High school I went on a mission trip to the Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota. We left base camps in groups of about 9. We had three canoes and carried our food and clothes for the next week. Basically we would canoe to different Islands and then set up camp somewhere. This is where I really felt closer to nature and grew to appreciate it. It would be nice if I could get more of my friends to experience it, because it is something I will always remember and it has helped me put life into perspective.

  • aulm92

    The funny thing is, is that i’ll be getting ready for bed and think that if I just get my stuff ready for the next day I wont be rushed or have any problems. Yet, I find myself rushing most mornings so that i’m not late!

  • Jessica Mendoza

    I really like this article as well! And I love being outside as well! I would also love to know Cheryl’s favorite theory?

  • Cathy Lee

    I love Theory 3: “If every person and organization practiced the creative process, the world would be a far healthier place.” I am a firm believer that getting my creative juices flowing is an effective way for me to recharge my focus, while relaxing and taking the time to be by myself. Creation can take form in many of our daily tasks such as cooking, working out, discovering a new hobby and etc. Personally for me, I find that being creative through dance helps me to leave my stresses outside the door and escape back to that inner joy that I find each time on the dance floor. Thank you for sharing.

  • Andersonjc16

    I tend to be like others as well and over complicate things very easily. From work to school, and even personal life. When i was younger it even got me into trouble sometimes. I try my best now days to sit back and think more before i react.

  • Ashley Nicole Rietbrock

    I agree with both of. I love being outside and will always be part of my life. It is scary when you think about because kids today barley go outside because they are to focused playing there video games I cant imagine what it is going to be like in the future. It also doesn’t help that technology will keep changing and get better which will make kids not want to go out side. Thanks for sharing this article.

  • Brittney Glende

    Thank you Cheryl for posting this great article filled with wonderful ideas. I agree here with Dakota that as a college student with a full load of classes and work, I tend to over complicate decisions and things I have to do throughout the day. This article was great in finding ways to make your life simple, getting rid of stress as Dakota stated. Thank you!!

  • mhansen11

    I really liked theory 1 as well!! Just being out in nature can be so peaceful and the fact is we need to keep it that way. It helps you calm down and get away from the bad for a little bit.

  • mhansen11

    I really agree with you here! You can’t live in the past and be worried about the future. Living in the present is all you need to enjoy and cherish every moment and everything you do while you’re doing it.

  • amykahl8

    It’s easy for people to damage our earth when they don’t see the effects when they’re cooped up in the city. People need to get out of there comfort zones, this would keep people happy through learning and discovery. I also think that people should put down technology and focus on real life experiences.

  • Taylor Schulz

    I agree, too many people are comfortable with their same day-to-day activities. Imagine what can be done; inventions, innovations, etc. if many of these kinds of people would just take a risk, step out of their comfort zones, and do what they can to give back.

  • Evan Hibbs

    Great article Cheryl. This article reminds me of the famous basketball coach John Wooden’s pyramid of success. I really enjoyed reading this. It’s important for a person to have an open mind and sometimes even challenge what they find to be the norms of society. This article makes me think different about my outlook on life and how your decisions can make or break you.

  • Amy Rink

    I felt the same way! Working out has always been my go to when it comes to having a stressful day. Takes my mind off of everything else that is going on around me!

  • weidmankl15

    I completely agree with you on the “complicating things in my own head”. I tend to think too much, which leads usually to me creating problems or worries that were never really there in the first place. I love sitting outside and enjoying fresh air when I am stressed out. Sitting on my couch makes me think, but sitting in my yard makes me appreciate the small things in life and I am reminded of how great life really is!

  • weidmankl15

    I completely agree with how easy it is for people to damage our earth when they don’t see the effects because they live in the city. Trust me, I am a city girl but I also LOVE the great outdoors. Do I recycle? Not really, but I don’t litter and I ride my bike almost everywhere. Are those huge things? Probably not, but I am at least trying in some ways. I agree with your idea of people putting down technology and focusing on real life experiences. We ALL are too entertained by technology theses days and we thrive off of it. Instead of sending your girl a cute text, take her on a walk outside. Instead of getting your children or family member a computer as a gift, give them some roller blades/bike/kayak or whatever and get them outside and enjoy what mother nature has to offer.

  • Katie Ackerman

    Wow, what an interesting article. I especially love theory one and two. We are all cooped up inside with work, school and extra curricular activities. I guarantee that if I spent more time in nature that I would appreciate it more. I know a lot of us Wisconsinites appreciate nature a lot more during the warmer months. Secondly, the idea about everyone reading the New Yorker was certainly a different take on society. I absolutely agree and wish that people weren’t constantly bombarded with negative news of the world, it brings us all down.

  • Caitlin Snyder

    Thank you for this article! I especially like the idea of building relationships in order to better our personal health. Personally, I love talking to people, even if it is just about the weather! Building relationships is so important in every aspect of life. Family, friends, coworkers, doctors, lawyers, teachers, pets, and everyone in between have a great impact on our lives. There are billions of people in the world, so why not make relationships in order to better ourselves and the other people around us.

  • Caitlin Snyder

    I completely agree with you. I can’t begin to explain how many times I’ve pulled out my phone in an awkward situation or checked Twitter while hanging out with friends. I wish I didn’t have such separation anxiety with my phone, and I try every day to use it less. I also agree that people need to get out of their comfort zones, but it is definitely easier said than done. Thank you for your comment, it was very insightful!

  • Caitlin Snyder

    This article brought me back to my glory days as a kid. I was outside 24/7 playing baseball and running around in the yard. I was such a happy little kid and I absolutely hated being inside! I’m sure I would be much less stressed if I just stopped and went for a walk just by myself. Thanks for your comment!

  • Caitlin Snyder

    That must’ve been an awesome experience! I would love to do something like that. I’m sure I would definitely appreciate nature much more after a trip like that. It’s nice to get away sometimes, that’s for sure!

  • Caitlin Snyder

    I know that my kids will be playing outside all the time! When I was a kid I never wanted to go outside. I will definitely raise my kids to appreciate nature and play outside much more often than kids nowadays!

  • Katie Ackerman

    I miss those glory days. I grew up in the country and the forest was my play ground. I would give anything to go back to that instead of the real world that lies ahead.

  • Caitlin Snyder

    I’m the same way, Amy! The combination of working out and nature has a sense of peacefulness and bliss, doesn’t it? I love running and biking outside and not being stuck inside on a treadmill next to 30 other stressed college kids!

  • Caitlin Snyder

    I really like your comparison of building with Legos. I absolutely loved Legos as a kid. I feel like they took me to an entirely different world. Unfortunately, I don’t spend as much time on my imagination as I used to when I was a kid. I’m inspired to work my imagination in different ways, even as a busy college student. Thanks for your post!

  • Caitlin Snyder

    I totally agree with you. Growing up with a big yard to play in was the best. I would even just go back for a day or two, just to experience what it felt like again!

  • Tkachukme11

    And to go along with the whole nature thing, kids need to experience playing outside and exploring instead of being cooped up inside all day on their electronics. I can definitely say that I need to spend more time in nature now these days. i can tell the days that I do spend outside, I feel happier after throwing a frisbee around or just walking around the campus.

  • Katie Ackerman

    I guess having kids some day is the only way to really experience it again. A good way to keep our kids in touch with nature at least! Maybe they wont get trapped in the technology/sedentary ridden lifestyle.

  • Caitlin Snyder

    I know when I have kids they will all be playing outside! I want to raise my kids to enjoy and appreciate nature, and that will in turn help them lead a healthier life.

  • lex_alwaysMIA

    This article has spoken to me on some many levels! People tend to have the idea that if they do not follow the guidelines of society, there is an issue. That is not always the case especially if it is your life to live. For example, having a 5 year plan is something that I hear often. What is your plan? I admit I have a plan yet I have flexibility were if something goes wrong, I will be fine and work out the kinks. Once people begin to see that life does not always go as planned, they can be a little happier in their lives. Great article!!

  • Katie Ackerman

    Imagine actually being apart of nature, in the woods. I guarantee we would all appreciate it more.

  • Joseph

    thats exactly how i was when i was younger. I was out doors 24/7 hanging out with my brother and friends. My parents would get upset at my brother and i for being outside so much because we would miss out on dinner. Those were the best days of my life. Nothing to worry about except what we were going to do the next day. Miss those days.

  • I am always the person who has a plan A, B and C. I always, always have a plan. For instance, I have a daily to do list, a planner and a journal that basically plans out my whole life. But someone recently told me that this is not the right way to live life because not everything we do and plan can be perfect – and I just want everything and everyone around me to be perfect. But that wasn’t the case. I just like to have a plan. But I do admit that I often feel restricted because of all the plans I have. Maybe that person was right. I probably would be happier if I don’t live according to my plans religiously and just let life happens. But where do I draw the line between them? Thank you for sharing!! It’s a great read!

  • I couldn’t have agreed more. Building relationships is so critical in every aspect of our lives. We learn and grow so much as an individual when we interact and build relationships with others. Thank you for sharing!

  • Palecekb

    Cheryl, great article. I have to be honest and say I had no idea of how the new yorker was any different from any magazine. So that was a pleasant surprise and I intend to look further into the magazine and see what more it has to offer. Thank you for the idea. Theory 1 and 2 were my favorite. I already touched a little bit on number 2 because I like the idea of a positive outlook magazine rather then, “look who was shot this week”. The reason I like number 1 is because just recently I went on my longest trail run which totaled out to be 6 miles. It is the farthest I have ever ran. The whole experience was amazing. I was engulfed in nature, everything about it. The smell, the view, the breeze. I loved it so much that my boyfriend and I plan to buy a Wisconsin trail pass so they we can visit and run on many other ones in the state. It has even lead me to want to plant trees, and garden. It has opened a new hobby and enjoyment for me. In what ways has nature touched you?

  • Palecekb

    I can agree with you on complicating everything, even complicating my time, which should be the easy thing to handle because time is time right? but oh how it can be difficult, especially during stressful times.

  • Tkachukme11

    The only way that they won’t be leading technology ridden lives though is if we show that we don’t need technology either. This will be hard because in college we are so reliant on emails, using the internet for certain homework assignments and of course checking our social media. It will be hard to transition away from that once we finish college and then eventually have a family. It will be a process parents and kids can do together to make sure that they’re all staying away from technology and enjoying time spent together outside.

  • GraceFelion

    Fantastic post! Just reading this made me want to go outside and then create something. During my freshman and sophomore years of college I used to spend a lot of time sewing and making crafts but as I’ve become more and more busy and bogged down with responsibilities I’ve stopped making time for creation. It used to give me so much joy and a release from stress. I now find myself struggling to create even when I give myself time. I think one of my goals for the summer is to find joy in creating again. It truly is important!

  • Cory Zaeske

    I agree completely. I think that establishing relationships can change a person’s outlook on life and they direction in life that they pursue. I also believe that there are relationships that can poison our personal health as well. It can be a challenge to find the right relationships but when you do, it makes life a whole lot easier.

  • Taylor Bolibol

    Great article! Our society is so structured. There is this map of the way we are supposed to live, what we are supposed to do, what jobs we are supposed to have, the way we are supposed to think about things and go about solving our problems (as the article says). However, we can’t come up with new solutions to new problems if we only think in the way to solve them in the way we were thinking when the problems were created. So in turn we must think out of the box but how do we think out of the box if for our entire lives we have only been thinking inside it. The answer: Practice. I think this article is fantastic because it gives ideas of how to practice this by being creative! Love it!

  • Samantha Smith

    Thank you Cheryl for writing this article, I strongly agree with theory 1 and 2, because I love being in the Wisconsin outdoors. Its so peaceful and calm in our nature preserves. Theory 2 was interesting to me because I don’t ever watch local news and hardly ever world news. Maybe it is a good think because then I am not so quick to judge then. Thank you again for the article.

  • Samantha Smith

    I agree with you being in Wisconsin I do appreciate nature during the summer months more.

  • Samantha Smith

    I think that Theory 1 is most important because we need to remember that we have an effect our our environment and we have creatures that can not and will not adapt to our rapid ecosystem changes.

  • PKroening

    I am the same way! I have a planner that I follow every step of the day. Sometimes I think it’s the greatest thing in the world and other times I just want to throw it out. It’s great because I am a very forgetful person so I would forget way too many things without it. Then again, it so restricting. Sometimes I wish I could forget things so I could just go out and do whatever I want that day.

  • PKroening

    Love the reference to John Wooden. And I agree with you where you sometimes just have to go outside of the norms and just be yourself. A lot of times you may feel weird or uncomfortable, but that’s a good sign that you’re just being yourself and not following the norms.

  • PKroening

    Dance is a great way to get the creative juices flowing. I love how you truly believe that by letting your juices flow that you get a good recharge in. By doing so, everything feels better. Keep doing you!

  • PKroening

    Definitely use the method! By getting your creative juices flowing the stress will just flow off of you and you will instantly feel better. I hope it works for you and you for sure should spread these methods!

  • Daniel John

    This was an interesting article, I also like theory one and two. In those theories we learn to experience different experiences. When it comes to negative stories on the news, that is what the people are interested in. It is sad that the world would rather hear the scarier side rather than the positive. I agree that the befit ice new is bringing us all down and I agree that if we all spent more time in nature we would appreciate it more.

  • laurenkraft

    I am the same way! I have a planner that contains my life! Sometimes I love it sometimes I hate it. It does keep me organized but sometimes I feel almost bad if I don’t follow through with my plans. There should be a line between what is too far or not. I think I am probably right in the middle I don’t feel like I can’t put off my plans for something else I just have it in the back of my mind that whole time haha.

  • Angela Hoch

    Amanda, you are exactly right. Building relationships is a key component in the business world along with everyday life as well. It’s so important to keep building upon current relationships but at the same time look for others to build upon 🙂 Great points!

  • Angela Hoch

    Samantha, I also find myself watching the local news and not even thinking twice about the world news. I used to feel awful about not doing so, but I like how you said at least we’re not so quickly to judge then. You made some great points!

  • Samantha Smith

    Plans should be like a nice guideline in my opinion but if they turn out a little different it not going to hurt anything either.

  • Samantha Smith

    I agree with how you phrased that 100%. Thank you for the post.

  • Samantha Smith

    I agree i remember being a child and we were always outside going camping and out swimming every day, now it seems like finding a day to go to the beach is near impossible due to work.

  • Samantha Smith

    During springbreak I went for the nicest hike up in Devils lake, it was so nice to be outside and it was so peaceful there on the bluffs. Where was you last hike?

  • Samantha Smith

    I agree that people forget about the damage our technology and our amenities have on our environment.

  • Samantha Smith

    Like finals and the semester nearing an end it is really easy to mix up time.

  • Samantha Smith

    I dont use dance to get my creative mind more active I use painting but I liked how you related your creative juices flowingn is an effective way for you to recharge because thatbis exactly how I feel after creating a piece of artwork.

  • Samantha Smith

    I really enjoyed reading about your mission trip. I liked that you appreciated nature while camping.

  • Samantha Smith

    Its silly things like that, that make me in a rush too. I could have easily decided what to wear the night before but didn’t because at the time it seemed silly.

  • Samantha Smith

    I think that seeing some of my own family members inside on nice days playing video games is why I wanted to impact kids. Showing them that going outside is more than sports, that its I our environment and our surroundings, to enjoy nature.

  • Samantha Smith

    I agree as well and I too find my self rushing and more careless when I am stressed out. But I think that when I spend time outside going for a walk or a bike ride I am less stressed and capable of focusing on my work again.

  • Samantha Smith

    I agree with how you put that. I think that a simple attitude adjustments can easily change your day.

  • Samantha Smith

    I agree. Living in the present can be difficult during stressful times.

  • Steven Bichler

    I grew up in the crowdedness and pollution of New York City. Once I moved to Wisconsin, I realized how great it was to be outside in the woods and experience peace and quiet. I feel like enjoying this beautiful states nature has really helped my wellness ever since moving away from the east coast, so I completely agree with theory one.

  • Steven Bichler

    I completely agree about Wisconsin’s outdoors. It is such a contrast to when I grew up in NYC and its scenery rally helps ones wellness. With theory 2, I used to watch the local news but now-a-days it’s people talking about things that are depressing and that’s not really the news I want to hear about so I agree once again.

  • schrammjm26

    I actually grew up in Wisconsin and have lived in a middle sized town all my life. The population is about 25k when college in session and 12k when college is out for the summer. It provides a busy town environment, however if you drive five minutes out of town its like your in the rain forest and there is nothing but nature. I love the peacefulness that nature brings and completely agree that its therapeutic.

  • Matthew Gust

    Its funny. I have lived in Wisconsin My entire life and have always taken for granted the beauty and the peace and quiet here. It has been the opposite for me. I have always wondered what it would be like to live in big city like New York or Chicago.

  • Matthew Gust

    I agree with this a lot! I grew up on a farm in southern Wisconsin. I live on top of a ridge and there is really nothing but rolling hills of corn fields. I love going on my deck and looking out into my backyard. It is unbelievable! The great sunsets that I get from my house are amazing! Therapeutic indeed.

  • Matthew Gust

    I agree with your input. I grew up on farm in Wisconsin and never really realized how beautiful it was. I definitely took it for granted. I think it has to do with me living here my entire life. I just don’t notice it as much because it is just normal. When I step back and realize I am amazed how lucky I am to be where I’m at.

  • Matthew Gust

    Growing up on a farm made me realize how much I miss my childhood. I was pretty spoiled. I had all the room in the world to play and have fun. There were no limits. I think what I loved most about being outside is the sense of adventure. Being outside allowed my imagination to run wild. Sometimes I wonder why we lose that when we get older.

  • Matthew Gust

    The attachment to technology is huge issue for me as well. I always seem to be checking my phone for messages or checking my e-mail. I have my face stuck in that phone so much sometimes that I don’t even know what is going on in the rest of the world.

  • laurenkraft

    I couldn’t agree more Cory, through personal experiences I have definitely figured out what relationships were good and healthy and what relationships were not so good. It’s true relationships can really ruin your personal health not only mentally but emotionally and physically as well!

  • Matthew Gust

    It is always important to remember think before you speak. When you get caught up in the moment your emotions are usually the thing that is driving you. Emotions are not always the greatest way to respond. Wait and let yourself reflect on the situation before you do anything.

  • Matthew Gust

    I think a lot of it has to do with where they grew up and how they were raised. For me it s easy to say that I enjoyed nature because I grew up on a farm, but if someone grew up in New York City there entire life I don’t think they would have the same view point on nature as me.

  • Samantha Smith

    Thank you for sharing you opinions, I bet Wisconsin and NYC are complete contrasts. But both beautiful and relrelax in there own way.

  • Samantha Smith

    Thank you for your input. I do think even the local news has a lot of influence on how quick and what you end up judging.

  • Matthew Gust

    Being outside to me always lead to a heightened sense of imagination when I was a kid. Life was an adventure growing up.

  • Matthew Gust

    Sometimes plans can be a good thing, but you have to know the difference. When you are living your life according to this structured plan I think you lose sponteniety in your life.

  • Matthew Gust

    Yeah I would agree. I miss those days like crazy. It does kind of get me excited though for the future. If I am blessed to have a family I would love for my kids to grow up in the country. It is great way to be a kid. Your imagination can run wild!

  • Andersonjc16

    I agree with that, around this time of year it is easy to lose track of time and many commitments.


  • Palecekb

    exactly, at times it feels like you have nothing more you could study, then later your cramming because you have suddenly remembered more topics, when in earlier times you could have been doing it at ease.

  • clemonsel02

    I can relate a lot to this because even though I am not from wisconsin. I do have a second home in the back woods of Alabama. I found that sitting in the front porch swing and just looking out into the beautiful scenery is such a salvation. I love how calm it feels, just a little slice of heaven! Does anyone have a little place of there own to feel this way?

  • Janna Bartels

    I don’t have a specific place, but whenever I get out for a walk (especially with my husband, sisters or friend) my attitude and outlook on life changes. I am able to talk with my companion and just enjoy the fresh air. I love being outdoors. I agree with Cheryl that more people need to get out and enjoy God’s wonderful creation!

  • PKroening

    I definitely feel bad when I don’t follow through with it too! It’s like you already had what you need to do planned out, so you know you have to go through with it in order to fulfill everything that day. I guess maybe I could just “lose” my planner for a day and do what I want haha.

  • Keeli Gilbert

    I like that you called us Wisconsinites first off and you are absolutely correct, we love it when it is warm and we can dig our toes in the sand. Maybe nature doesn’t have to mean going on a hike, maybe we just need to sit out on our front porch, it could even be screened in, and just get lost in a book. I would much rather be outside do something, but even laying in the grass is one way we can learn to reflect and appreciate things more, like the news.

  • Alexandra Helena Marie Nicolof

    LOVE these theories. I always feel better after spending time with nature. I generally have a better sense of connection to the world and its inhabitants surrounding me. I need to make a point to exercise my creative process as I often think of myself as too busy to do so. Seems like I have the first two down pretty well though!

  • Alexandra Helena Marie Nicolof

    Steven and Sam, have you thought about tuning out the negative news that stations such as CNN and FOX thrive off of, and read thought-provoking and insightful stuff from sources like NPR?

  • Alexandra Helena Marie Nicolof

    Angela, I agree that local news seems less dramatic and negative than national news broadcasts like CNN etc. I find myself more interested in local news because I feel directly affected by it. I suppose that has negative consequences as well though.

  • Alexandra Helena Marie Nicolof

    Matthew, life is still an adventure even as an adult! My boyfriend spent his entire day with friends hiking and had a blast climbing, jumping, and “racing down hills.”

  • Alexandra Helena Marie Nicolof

    Fantastic insight, lex_alwaysMIA

  • Alexandra Helena Marie Nicolof

    Sam, we even appreciate the winter months…in the beginning:
    snow forts
    snowball fights
    Then we enter survival mode.

  • Samantha Smith

    I agree I love the way spending time with nature makes me feel. I love the outdoors.

  • Samantha Smith

    When I am having a stressful week in the cold winters of wisconsin I find it comforting and relaxing to sit in a oversized chair in my apartment looking out of the big picture window to my back yard. It may be cold but looking out my window keeps me warm and relaxed.

  • Samantha Smith

    I traveled to Jamaica last winter where I first saw a sunset that could be called therapeutic. It was by far the best night I had while on my adveture.

  • Samantha Smith

    I haven’t but Alex I have read a lot of your posts on facebook and I really enjoy the positive and insightful articles you share. I think that a part of the reason I don’t watch world news is because it is always so negative. When growing up my grandparents always watched aand world news and I really like the person they honer once a week for doing good and moral deeds.

  • Samantha Smith

    Do you watch or read most of the news you get? I really dont think I have anymore time to try and watch the news everyday. Do you thinkwatching news or reading about news is more insightful?

  • Samantha Smith

    Matt I agree with Alex, over Springbreak this year when most college student’s where finding there way to PCB we found our way to Devil’s Lake in Baraboo, Wi. To do some hiking. Nothing is wrong with going to PCB just make an adventure out of it do some camping while there instead of going and staying in a hotel.

  • Samantha Smith

    Great point Ally I do enjoy the first snow fall and a good snowball fight

  • Max Rude

    Wow what a cool way to think about just little actions in our life and how they can effect us so much. I also loved the theory they where great and well thought out.

  • Slepicka12

    I totally agree with you about feeling better after spending time with nature. Being outdoors is the best way to clear your head.

  • Slepicka12

    Coming from a city to Wisconsin is such a difference in the nature and the beautiful surroundings. I defiantly have to agree with you on this.

  • mhansen11

    It definitely takes me back to my childhood where being outside was the only thing I wanted! I agree with you that being in nature is soothing!

  • mhansen11

    Thank you so much! I think I will actually start using this method! It seems relzxing and mind clearing can be real nice out in nature!

  • Aarynn Bosshart

    It’s great to hear that the benefits of spending time in nature has scientific evidence to back it up. I used to work at a high ropes course for an Adventure Education program. Many schools groups, work groups, teams, etc would come to participate in the activities our program had to offer. A crucial element of Adventure Education is the great outdoors. It’s amazing what some fresh air combined with individual and team challenges can do for a person. People always left with great big smiles. I love being outside: going for runs, golfing, hiking, biking… I think being in nature really rejuvenates me because I am able to see the beauty of my God’s work. He is one creative guy! The words of Jeremiah 29:11 truly resonate with me when I am in the beauty of His creation, and all my stress melts away.

  • karinaz10

    When my anxiety gets the best of me my outlet is to take my dog for a walk in the forest preserve near my home. It is calming and rejuvenating. When I’m on the walk I can clear my head and enjoy the beauty that nature has to offer.

  • Skowronssj06

    Spending time outdoors makes me feel better as well. You forget all your problems and just breathe in the fresh air. It get me away from the computers and phones and just lets me think and clear my head.

  • yencheskcj27

    Great article. People often overlook the benefits of spending itme in nature, like reduced depression and anxiety. When we’re in nature all of our worries often seem to vanish, and we can slow down and simply appreciate being.

  • Carly Konkol

    I definitely agree with you yencheskcj27. As generations continue, it seems that we appreciate nature and the beauty around us less and less. I find that if I go on a run outdoors a few times a week, my mood in general is boosted and my stress levels are reduced. Sometimes the ansewer a healthy wellbeing is right outside of our front door, we just need to stop and smell the flowers!

  • Nicole Myers

    I think this perfectly sums up what we are missing in life. I am from Minneapolis and it was always go, go, go. It was not until I came to college and moved out into the “Corn Fields” that I really valued spending time with nature surrounding me. I definitely believe that we need to cherish nature and not take advantage of it like I did for so long. Thank you for your very thought provoking blog.

  • Ananda Conlon

    When I came to college, my life got much more scheduled. I decided to join everything and take on large roles. As a senior, I have learned an important lesson: you don’t have to be everything in order to be successful. By taking a break, you are able to prioritize the importance of everything and enjoy what you do.

  • mankobj22

    I really like your focus on nature and belief in its powers. I think there is something to be said for taking time to enjoy the things around you. And yet, it is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday demands and overlook that everyday beauty. I really appreciate your challenge and reminder to slow down sometimes and remember nature.

  • Mizu4TheWin

    Personally, I find it find all these theories to be reasonable, but the downside is there are many people who simply would not listen. Like reading the New Yorker. There is a reason why the news shows the bad things and the disasters: it’s because it sells.

  • HelpHealth002

    Thanks for writing this article Cheryl. I think this is something everybody should read because it can benefit us all in some way. I especially like the points you made in Theory 1. I agree that if people would spend more time in nature, our modern world would be a lot different. Most people would care about the earth and realize that the little ‘world’ they live in, is involved in a much bigger picture. Too many times people get stuck in their own lives and don’t take time to realize how their decisions are affecting others, as well as the earth. Do you agree?

  • Trista Radloff

    Yes this a great article! I really enjoyed it. I also agree with you that by living in nature, we would learn to appreciate the world in which we reside. We would learn the important of caring of it and not litering it. My parents own a cabin way up north that I used to dread going to when I was a kid, but now that I am older, I see the joy in it. Life is simple. There is no cell service and no TV. Family is forced to interact. For something to do, my family plays cards and exercises – swimming, going for a bike ride. It is what I image life would have been before the Industrial age.

  • Caroline Isabel Alsept

    Cheryl thank you so much for a lovely article, I could write a novel commenting but the point on depression in England really hit a cord. I have been a volunteer for the elderly and I too noticed when I would take them out on an outing to a park, feed ducks at a pond or just sit and watch nature, its beautiful, the impact it has on them is amazing. I pick them up and at first they don’t want to go, but after we reach our destination, you can see their spirits lifted. Thank you for reminding us that even something as simple as sitting under a tree can help on so many levels…

  • rtcooper

    Very interesting perspectives on our planet and the possibilities that could become, if people would just open their eyes and focus on what they can change.

  • tygonzalez

    I think that every one should have to read an article like this in school, it really opens your mind and makes you realize how your actions shape your personality and effects the way you act.

  • James

    People are too concerned with their own lives to see what their actions do to the grand scheme of things. This is a great article that shows people how to open their minds and see how their actions effect the world.

  • Andrew Bliefernicht

    Far too often people focus too much on their own lives and their own well being that they get tunnel vision of what is going on around them. People need to open their minds to see what is happening around the world and how their single actions can effect something else.

  • Austin Dorman

    I totally agree with both of you. My future kids will never be those kids who are always inside playing video games, I won’t let them. I’m gonna get my kids playing outside and enjoying the outdoors. Living a healthier life is so much easier when you actually enjoy being outside and active.

  • shackletka05

    Thank you for sharing! You have made so many strong points. Many do not realize the impact we have on each other. It is important to recognize the way our actions play a great deal on our personalities and how we should open up our minds.

  • B Keng

    Yes you would be surprise at what what people can do if they focus on how they can be a change to the world.

  • tyler

    This was a great article, thanks! I personally do not enjoy spending time with nature, but it is nice reading about someone who does. I can understand why so many people love spending time with nature, I can see how relaxing it can be and how soothing it can be. Even though I do not like spending time outside in nature, I still too need to exercise my creative side. After reading this, I can see some strong points of being outside in nature, and maybe I should give it a try, and not be so stubborn about it. These theories you have listed are some pretty convincing ones. How can I learn to love nature, maybe you can help me out? This is something i need to learn to keep an open mind with.

  • Amy Rink

    I agree with your post! It’s like the old saying, “actions speak louder than words”. I think is so true, even the smallest non verbal action can cause a great deal of change all around us!

  • Caroleigh Perkins

    Even just the smell of fresh air seems to get my brain feeling clearer. I definitely need to incorporate nature walks into my routine. Walking my dog for the first time in a while made me feel awesome, him too, but that was just around town. I’m sure if I were to go somewhere with more natural scenery the effects would be increased. Great article!

  • Alexa A Dralle

    The same goes for me. Being outside makes life slow down for a bit and gives me time to look at what is going on inside my head. Taking my dog for a walk- rather my roommates dog(but thats besides the point)- makes me feel so much better and relaxed. It seams so easy to just tie him to a steak on stressful days, though now that I think of it, those are probably the days we both need that extra time outside.

  • ali Alamri

    great points . i enjoy reading this article

  • BastarKm06

    I agree with you. Being outside definitely helps me clear my mind and help me sort thing out mentally. Theres just something about some fresh air that helps me calm down. I think everyone should try using nature in a positive way if it helps them.

  • nbaker3

    Interestingly, in a recent presentation on how to motivate people physically, I encouraged people to get fresh air. With more oxygen in the system, brains function faster therefore creative minds flow with more fresher ideas.

  • Chelsea Haffele

    I too have lived in Wisconsin my entire life and I love visiting big cities. I think I have also taken advantage of the beauty and peacefulness of living in WI.

  • Chelsea Haffele

    I agree that even having to deal with the freezing winters, there is nothing better than no traffic on the way to work and not having to deal with the hustle and bustle of a big city.

  • Ashley Gardner

    I completely agree with you! People take for granted the little things in life. Just the smell of spring in the air recently, has made me feel better. I take my dogs on walks all the time when its warm out, and like you said, not only is it good for us to clear our heads, but our pups love it too!

  • What points in particular did you find interesting?

  • Michellelele123

    I agree with you! The bad thing about living in the Midwest is a majority of our year the weather isn’t fit to be outside in. Spring and summer make such a difference in me, I’m happier, more optimistic and more productive!

  • catec18

    I really liked the list of how creating makes us healthy. I agree and believe that being creative is great for growth within a job. I started working for a new boss two years ago. She was used to having a creative assistant as apposed to what I was used to which was more analytical, clerical type tasks. Over the course of the past two years, we have been able to work very well together and she has helped me grow in creativity. I think a couple things that learning creativity has taught me are trust and confidence. In the beginning of our time together, I would always submit work to her saying “let me know what you want me to change” or “I’m not sure if this was what you were looking for I can redo it if you want” I was not confident in my work and didn’t trust my abilities. But now, I just submit my work and ask if there is anything else I can do to help. This growth makes me proud and excited.

  • gaulrappkj17

    This article reminds me of being a child. I mean in a way in which how simple children see life. How things are just black and white and they naturally tend to not complicate things like adults do. You are made in a way that naturally solves problems or at least has the desire to. But we cloud that with everything we think we are supposed to do and little of that is what we actually want to do.

  • Erin

    I love the beginning of this article. Those three theories are things I think about all the time. Especially about nature. We get so caught up in our crazy lives that we don’t even notice the simple, beautiful things happening around us. I mean when is the last time you sat outside just to watch the sunrise. It is a beautiful thing and a great way to start your morning. Just taking that small time out of your day can totally change your mood. I also loved the points that were made about the New Yorker because I have never thought about those things before. And being creative really does build you as a person and helps you to grow.

  • Samantha Lavenau

    I agree with you 100%! We are all so caught up in our phones and technology we don’t realize how lucky we have it. We spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on technology when we could take some time and look and feel nature for free. I always wake up to the sun shining into my room and most people would hate that but it gives me a calm feeling that helps me start my day. This summer I want to start hiking and enjoying more of the free things in life!

  • Erin

    I also want to start hiking! I think you said it great about spending so much money on technology when the real things that matter are out there for us for free. How can people pass that up? We live in a world that doesn’t realize the beauty that lies around us. I think everyone just needs to take a step back and appreciate the world for all the good thats here, like nature! We have lost site of what is truly important.

  • RadebaugVP02

    I definitely agree that we don’t take the time to take in all the things that are given to us in life. Especially in this generation with all the new technology, its taken over our lives. I wonder what our lives would be like without cell phones or any social media, I can only imagine it being so much more serine.

  • purperoar21

    Each reason backing up the argument of this article is great, not only is it healthy for us to be out of the box thinkers but to be out of your mind and through process creators. Brainstorming is the intellectual portion of creativity of which is a big part, however implementing those ideas through actions is where creating actually comes in. Lastly, I agree that nature brings us back from the virtual world of which we let consume us. However, with technology comes a who different medium of communication with new language and meaning. In the sense of building relationships and displaying expression I feel that we are creating through it and it should be something we should find a healthy balance of.

  • CPanella1

    I love how you addressed the fact that ideas come alive through ACTION. Action speaks louder than words and with our communication methods nowadays we see less action. Face to face conversations don’t take place as much anymore and if they do, they are hardly genuine.

  • alexlavine

    I agree, I feel like in some ways is a skill you either have or don’t have. Some people just have a hard time thinking about others or putting others before themselves. While some people are more caring for others and it is more natural for their personality.

  • alexlavine

    Slowing down is the way to go. Life can get too fast paced and its good to slow down and enjoy life. When life gets to hectic just slow down and enjoy the little things in life.

  • afallon14

    I completely agree with you! Being a college student and being busy a lot of the time during the week, it is nice to have time to relax on the weekend and take a walk outside around town. It definitely changes my mood and calms me down if I am stressed.

  • Ryan Dow

    I feel that improving your wellbeing can gain by just building on your relationship. When I build good strong healthy relationshipd my wellbeing goes way up.

  • kgonyo

    I love this article and agree wholeheartedly with the idea that we tend to overcomplicate things. By simply experiencing nature, we can gain the perspective we need to live better lives – as individuals, and as a community.

  • Tyler Hebert

    Creating makes us healthy. I couldn’t agree more with this statement. “We learn to communicate. We develop relationships. And relationships are the beginning and end of life.” This is so true and I believe that communicating with people and getting to know more people is the main reason for people succeeding nowadays. The more connections you have, the more job opportunities you will have.

  • Bjackson5

    There are many beneficial steps included in this article. They all apply directly to the fact that inspiration can be created by the same individual that requires the inspiration.

  • Jac Williamson

    Theory 1 inspired a lot of thoughts for me. When I first read it, all I could think about was when was the last time I actually stopped and enjoyed nature? I’m a little ashamed to say it, but I spend so much of my time while I’m walking with my head down, looking at my phone on social media or texting. Only God knows how much I have missed on with all that time spent looking down at my screen. This article was definitely a wake up call to me that I need to work on disconnecting myself from my phone and enjoy God’s creation around me.

  • Wonderfully written, touching on so many personal experiences (from growing up surrounded by acres of farmland, doing a summer work on Cape Cod, not knowing what would expect there, moving to Dresden for an internship just by following my curiosity, in order to verify what could be found each day in the newspaper in Western Germany, jumping into an exiting job at a car manufacturer as they scaled their production from zero to almost a thousand cars per day, and last bust not least starting a startup by the notion to facilitate exponential technology to bring economic and social prosperity to a region that is currently not well off).

    Thank you Cheryl!!!