For the Beauty of the Earth


When I was at school studying Chinese medicine, one of my professors said that in China, people are encouraged to go to the countryside each springtime. “They see all the green in the fields, and it soothes their Liver Qi, which relieves stress.” 




Anyone who has driven in the country in spring knows how soothing a clear green field can be. But for most people, it is a common sense “fun thing to do,” not a health treatment.






Science may soon change that perception.





Research now shows that looking at the color green boosts creativity, and that productivity improves when office workers can see outside. Our systems are made to connect with the beauty of nature, and our health improves when we make time to do so.




In the interests of building health today, here are some pictures I recently took while at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, one of my happy places. Enjoy!



Articles used for this post: Why We Love Beautiful Things


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How Socks Made My Day–Simple Self Care

Photo Credit: Teresa Y Green

I bought these knee socks last week. They are kind of a big deal. I bought them to go with my new boots–the boots come up to my knees, and I didn’t have any socks long enough to protect my legs from getting chafed.

Usually, I am a frugal shopper when it comes to clothes. I buy very nice stuff, but I buy it from thrift stores, where Liz Claiborne jeans cost $5. When I got the boots and realized I needed socks that no one would be able to see, I planned to buy some plain socks in a pack from a department store. Then I went to Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, one of my favorite places. Their gift shop is full of beautiful garden-oriented things, from jewelry to plant markers. Wandering through the shop is like a small museum tour for me, oohing and ahhing over the the butterfly, flower, bird, or bee-themed cards, lamps, mugs, nightlights, and other items. So I stopped to admire the scarves, and saw a display of knee-high socks. Full of color, with patterns from paisley to butterflies to flowers. And saw these. I fell in love.

While they were reasonably priced, one pair cost more than I had planned to pay for my three-pack of plain socks. They were totally impractical–no one but my husband would ever see them under my boots. I walked past them, then circled back. Then took them to the cash register and on to their new “forever home.”

New socks are not a big deal. But I emphasize self care in my practice. Sometimes I find I need my own advice. These socks represent my plan to do little things to take care of myself, so I have plenty of resources to give to others.

Sometimes patients resist the idea of self-care, because they feel others in the family have a bigger need, or they equate self-care with selfishness. Since I’ve been in that place–and go back and visit occasionally–I try to help. Self-care does not mean ignoring others’ needs to have whatever you want in life. It is taking care of yourself, so you can joyfully give to others. When I look at my socks, I feel happy. I smile. The touch of beauty in my day changes my mood. When I take my new, improved mood to the office, or to my husband, or anywhere populated by my fellow human beings, I am able to be a more positive version of myself. Solutions to problems come easier and can encourage people and be believable, because I am happy myself.  Interactions with cashiers, sales people, and my fellow drivers are friendlier–moments that may be fleeting for me, but can make the day of someone who needs a smile and basic respect.

Too often, I find myself seeing life as something I can only manage by a combination of running full-tilt and hanging on for dear life, scraping by and fighting through fatigue and frustration. One of my goals for the next year is to have fewer moments in that mentality, and more moments enjoying the life I’ve been given, and sharing what I have and know with others. My pretty socks are a small item that enriched my life. The feeling of luxury they gave me made me feel expansive, and more capable of giving to the people in my life.

Are there any small ways you take care of yourself? Please share them in the comments!