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Host Dacher Keltner leads us through an exercise in feeling the serenity and wonder that nature brings us, no matter where we are.
Today’s Happiness Break host:
Dacher Keltner is the host of the Greater Good Science Center’s award-winning podcast, The Science of Happiness and is a co-instructor of the GGSC’s popular online course of the same name. He’s also the founding director of the Greater Good Science Center and a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley.
How to Do This Practice:
Find a spot where you can sit and rest comfortably. Once you’re ready, close your eyes.
Begin breathing slowly and deeply. Focus on your breath and unclench your muscles from head to toe.
Think of a place in nature that is sacred or significant to you. What do you hear? What do you see? Try to create as clear of an image as you can in your mind.
Notice what feelings arise as you think of this place; what feelings do you associate with it?
Contemplate how this place has become a part of who you are; how it lives in your mind and how you can conjure up the feeling of it within yourself.
His new book is Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life.
More resources from The Greater Good Science Center:
Secrets of the Vagus Nerve: https://tinyurl.com/yzuxtuzp
Why We Should Look Up at the Sky (Podcast): https://tinyurl.com/fn3bttw6
What’s the Most Common Sense of Awe? https://tinyurl.com/2p842t8r
Happiness Break: How to Ground Yourself: https://tinyurl.com/289ph9cz
Happiness Break: Experience Nature Wherever You Are: https://tinyurl.com/yv46xrr4
Why You Should Snap Pictures of Nature: https://tinyurl.com/5fp7bhk6
Could Your Life Be More Awesome? Take our Awe Quiz https://tinyurl.com/2p8mz57f
We love hearing from you! Tell us about your experience of awe in nature. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the hashtag #happinesspod.
Find us on Apple Podcasts: https://tinyurl.com/2p9h5aap
Help us share Happiness Break! Leave us a 5-star review and copy and share this link: https://tinyurl.com/2p9h5aap
We’re living through a mental health crisis. Between the stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, burnout — we all could use a break to feel better. That’s where Happiness Break comes in. In each biweekly podcast episode, instructors guide you through research-backed practices and meditations that you can do in real-time. These relaxing and uplifting practices have been shown in a lab to help you cultivate calm, compassion, connection, mindfulness, and more — what the latest science says will directly support your well-being. All in less than ten minutes. A little break in your day.
Dacher Keltner Hi, this is Dacher Keltner. Welcome to Happiness Break, a series where we take a short break in the day to try a practice that brings us more calm and a sense of connection and kindness and appreciation. We are going to do a practice called A Sacred Place in Nature
We know from dozens of studies that when we find awe places in nature, be it in a garden, or walking in an arboretum or even in a city, Or out backpacking, that it brings all manner of health and happiness benefits to us better immune profiles to better brain functioning, to a greater sense of optimism and hope.
Um, and we sacred spaces aces know that we can derive these benefits through the power of our imagination, through seeing images of nature, videos of nature, and imagining sacred places in nature.
Let’s get to a comfortable position. You may be standing or sitting wherever you are.
Make sure you’re safe. Hopefully, it’s quiet and you can close your eyes and rest your hands in a comfortable place. Take a nice deep breath in, and breathing out, follow the air through your lungs, your throat in your nose. Another nice deep breath in.
Breathing out, knowing the vagus nerve is activated, calming and opening your body.
On this breath in start to follow physical relaxation from the face and the top of the head to the jaw, to your shoulders. Just feel the relaxation.
And breathing out, see if you can follow this relaxation down through your back, your legs, and into your feet. Breathing in and breathing out.
On this breath in, I want you to think of a place near you where you really feel the awe and the beauty, and even the sacred qualities of nature.
Could be your garden or a park, or a tree or some flowers. Just a place where you feel the power, the wonder, and beauty of nature near you.
For me, it’s these redwood trees that I walk by coming to this studio just standing near them. So really in your mind, get a clear image to the best of your abilities of this sacred place of nature.
It’s colors and scents, even sounds, movements. Just be there near it, feeling its light, its color, its movements.