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How to Make Nature Your Fix Right Where You Are (Florence Williams)

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Florence Williams Humans Outside

After a year focused for better or worse on only the nature within our bubbles, Florence Williams has learned a thing or two about making the most of what you have right outside your door and the tools you already possess to do so. Since Florence, author of “The Nature Fix,” literally wrote the book on how going outside creates positive impacts on our mental health and wellbeing, that’s really saying something.

We learned about Florence before we even started going outside every day. It was her book, published shortly before we knew we were looking for it, that gave us the 20-minute daily goal. We are so honored that she gave some of her time to share her latest lessons in exactly how you can harness the power of nature for your health, happiness and mental wellbeing.

Some of the good stuff:

[2:05] Florence William’s favorite outdoor space

[3:14] Why she started writing about outdoor benefits

[5:16] Why going outside makes us feel good

[8:01] Why going outside is good for your brain

[10:26] Why going outside helps trauma

[16:36] Why finding what speaks to you is important

[19:05] Why tuning in matters

[21:24] The difference between “seeking” and “available”

[23:48] Why many doctors love drugs and ignore nature

[25:49] How to find awe in what’s right outside your door

[35:30] Florence’s favorite and most essential gear

[36:47] Florence’s favorite outdoor moment

Connect with this episode:

Find full show notes at https://humansoutside.com/podcasts/florence-williams-humans-outside-podcast

Register for our newsletter to win a decal: https://humansoutside.com/newsletter

Follow us on Instagram and share your outdoor life with the hashtag #humansoutside365.

Here’s an edited transcript of our conversation on The Humans Outside Podcast.

Listen to the episode on iTunes, Google Podcasts, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.

AB 0:53

When I first started my outdoor experiment in 2017, spending time outside every day for a year, I had to decide how much time I was going to shoot for every day. Five minutes seemed way too risky to create a challenge around. But I also knew that the most important part of creating a challenge is to pick something you’ll actually do. So I knew something like 45 minutes was out. So I did some research to learn how much time I should spend outside to make it work. And the very first thing I found when I started Googling was Florence Williams’ new book, “The Nature Effect” — or new at the time. Florence Williams literally wrote the book on the science based physical and mental benefits of spending time in nature, compiling research in a way that hadn’t been done before and daring us all to get outside and experience those benefits. And we are so honored that today she’s here spending time with us, Florence, welcome to Humans Outside.

FW 1:49

Thanks so much for having me.

AB 1:51

So we like to start these episodes, just sort of imagining ourselves in our guest’s favorite outdoor space, pretending that we’re hanging out having a conversation there, even though we’re far apart. Where are we with you today?

FW 2:05

My sort of magical spot tends to be by a river. And because I live in Washington, D.C. now, the river is the Potomac, I’m down there often. This is a wonderful time to be down there actually right this moment because the shad are running. So there’s this spectacular migration happening with 1,000s and 1,000s of fish swimming upstream and hundreds of egrets and herons, and other birds feeding on fish. And it’s just a magical place right now.

AB 2:39

I used to live in Washington, D.C. area, not far from where I think you live from kind of what I gathered, listening to and reading your book. And I love that section of the Potomac. I love all the flowers and just running along there, the green, it is a beautiful place to take a walk and sort of escape that city vibe, even though it does go directly by an airport. So I take we can get. So can you tell us how you found yourself looking to write about why people should head outdoors?

FW 3:14

Yeah, I mean, I would say it was really prompted, like a lot of my writing by sort of personal inquiry. I was really fortunate to although I grew up on the east coast in New York City, actually, after college, I went out west, I spent 23 years living in Colorado and Montana, small towns, you know, really close to the mountains, and then the mountains, and and then my family moved to Washington D.C. So I felt like this sort of dramatic personal change, you know, happened almost inside my body, I could feel the natural landscape getting reflected in my internal emotional landscape, I felt really stressed out. I was anxious, I wasn’t sleeping as well, you know, the big city was was loud and monochromatic. And, you know, expensive, and just a generally stressful environment. And you know, of course, people get used to that. And I have somewhat gotten used to it. But it struck me as being so dramatic that I thought, what is the science here? You know, how do our emotions get reflected? By what, by what, by, by places we’re living and by the environment? And what does the science have to say about that? And I was aware of the journalist Richard Louv, you know, who had coined this term ‘nature deficit disorder.’ And I wondered if that’s what I was experiencing it, and if it was real, if that was real thing, and sort of what the science had to say. And so, you know, I was really fortunate. I got this assignment from Outside Magazine, to go find some science, actually currently taking place, having to do with, you know, environment and psychology. And so I went to Japan, and that’s really where it all started. And eventually I realized, wow, there’s actually another going on around the world that there’s a book here.

AB 5:04

So I think we all intuitively know that going outside makes us feel happy. Can you give us a picture of that science behind why that is what you found?

FW 5:16

Yeah, it’s, it’s only intuitive for some of us. Yeah, I’ve been surprised that a lot of people don’t go outside. And, you know, since I wrote the book, I get emails from people saying, Oh, I read your book. And now I go outside. And now I see what you meant. So while I think it’s intuitive, I think a lot of us have become really disconnected, you know, from from that sort of natural hardwiring that we that we have. And what the science really shows is that, and again, this is from Japan is sort of initial studies that I looked at, showing that even just after 15, or 20 minutes of being in a pretty, forested environment, and sort of being cued to be mindful in that space, and to sort of pay attention to what our senses are perceiving and taking in, you know, that our blood pressure actually drops, our respiration rate drops, our stress hormone levels drop, and our moods increase. And then other science has shown that our sort of negative thinking, like our rumination goes quiet. You know, while we’re outside, if we’re out there for long enough, enough, we’re able to be sort of mindful, you know, this is something you know, the Buddhist talk about a lot. But it turns out that being in nature is kind of this natural meditative state, where we’re in the present moment, we’re hearing the bird sing, you know, our bodies feel a little bit alive. And our negative thought cycles, really quiet down eventually, you know, sometimes it takes a little while, takes longer than 15 minutes, for a lot of people. And in fact, when people ask me, you know, oh, I went for a walk, but it didn’t work, you know, I was still thinking about my shopping, my grocery shopping, or whatever. And, you know, what should I do? And my response to that is a couple of things. But but one is, you need to probably go out for longer. And, and also learn how to cue yourself, to waking up your senses, and we can talk about that later.

AB 7:18

So I find that, you know, because I have this practice of doing this every day, right? On some days, I do think about my shopping list, it happens. But I also wonder if I don’t have the space to think about my shopping list, when I’m outside in a way that like, I never even got there inside, because I was so busy with everything else. And this is something that I really did want to contemplate, or a big project or work or whatever. And now I’m outside and I have that release, to be able to creatively think about whatever it is, hopefully, it’s something more creative than shopping. Sometimes it is.

FW 8:01

So those are really two different things. You know, one is the shopping list. And it’s kind of I feel like it’s sort of a waste of time, if you’re a waste of being out there if that’s all you’re thinking about. Because being outside has been shown to do exactly what you said in the other part, which was be creative. So you know, there’s oxygen flowing through our brains, we’re sort of moving around, presumably, outside, we’re waking up different parts of our brains, our sensory brains, we’re feeling our bodies, all of that is really conducive to creative thought. And so yeah, it’s great for problem solving. It’s great for coming up with ideas. It’s great for sometimes doing some writing, you know, in your mind, or in your head. I do that all the time. And it’s not because I’m really trying, it’s not because it’s on my to do list, you know, fix this paragraph while I’m on a walk, it just naturally happens, because being outside is conducive to mind wandering, you know, which can be a really creative and generative and fruitful state.

AB 9:00

When my family and I first started going outside, I noticed that the experience of being there in nature, now I want to back up for a second. Obviously, we went on our porch or you know, walked outside or whatever, right? But the difference there, what I mean is I’m on purpose, right? Purposely seeking out nature adventures, purposely going camping, purposely spending time in nature. And I noticed that the experience of just setting up a tent was like watching my husband’s sort of take off this mental backpack. You know, he’d start, you know, it would take us an hour to get to the campsite. We would be really stressed out when we pulled in because maybe somebody had to pee and we had, you know, just all the road stress, right? And by the time we had finished setting up what is admittedly a very large tent, it takes a minute. By the time we finished doing that, it was like watching someone unload and then this sigh of relief. Um, and so I know that you have done some additional reporting, since The Nature Fix was published, on the mental impact of going outside specifically looking at veterans, which of course my husband is. So I’m wondering, what you found about that sort of mental unloading might be the wrong term, but release maybe?

FW 10:26

Yeah, I think, I think there’s a lot that goes on there. And it’s kind of hard to parse out the science of it, although people are trying. You know, I did write about veterans in the book. And I also wrote about veterans after the book. And then I also spent time actually with sex trafficking survivors on a three day backpacking trip, and I felt like I learned even more with them about trauma. And you know, what healing can happen outside. And I, you know, I mean, there’s so many parts to it, but but one is that when you have Post Traumatic Stress is, you know, um, you know, you tend to be sometimes very hyper-vigilant, there’s a lot of anxiety there, a lot of nightmares, you know, you hear a book drop, and it sounds like gunfire. And so people who have PTSD are often kind of, they’re good at actually shutting down their senses, is that helps them get through the day, it helps them become it helps them survive. And this is true of the sex trafficking survivors, too, they had to kind of shut down their sense of feeling like they’re in their bodies, because their bodies had betrayed them. And, you know, their bodies were linked to trauma for them. And so what happens when you’re outside is that it starts to feel safe, to open up your senses, again, it’s, you know, what you what you experience is, hopefully, you know, if you’re in the right kind of environment, you know, for these kinds of therapeutic adventures, you know, it feels safe. So there’s maybe a beautiful sunset, and there’s a gentle breeze on your skin. And there are birds, you know, flying in the air and making beautiful noises. And so you gradually start to feel safer, opening up your senses. And then when you do that, again, your thinking brain, and your kind of anxiety brain tends to quiet down a little bit at the same time. And so what I noticed is that people start sleeping better outside, they eat better. And this is because their nervous system is in, you know, a different state. That’s more, that’s just calmer. And there’s, that’s when the healing can sort of happen. It’s hard for the healing to happen when you’re still in a high state of anxiety.

AB 12:44

How do you then bring that high that healed or reframed mental state back inside? How do you transfer it?

FW 12:56

Well, that’s a great question. And I think the science is really not clear there on how long the effects last. But from talking to people, my sense of it is that it’s kind of like embarking on any sort of healthful, healthful diet, you know, it’s not like you eat broccoli once a month, and then you’re fine. Um, you know, you have to keep consuming, the good stuff. And so I think that the good thing that can happen here is that there’s an awakening, you know, a sense of connection to the natural world, there’s almost a craving for it, because you know, you feel good outside, once you can start to pay attention to actually how you do feel, right. And that’s another success story. And so then, then you want to make it a part of your daily life, you know, even if it’s just a small dose, even if it’s having your morning coffee on the back deck, where you can hear some birds, taking some time to just even look out your window in your house and look at some plants or look at the clouds. I call it micro-dosing, you know, it’s possible to sort of micro-dose beauty and awe. And I think a lot of us have found that, you know, it is almost a daily practice for it to really have long term effects.

AB 14:10

Yeah, I mean, I think that’s what we’re doing here. Right, the 20 minutes is is a microdose. And a lot of ways although for I think for a lot of people they would see, especially initially when you’re creating that habit, 20 minutes sounds like a real commitment. It does. And, of course, when you realize that you found it all by cutting out how much time you’re spending looking at TikTok, it doesn’t take quite as long as it once was, whoa, the minutes fly watching other people dance. But it does create a desire to do it more. When I got to the end of that first year, I was categorically not done. I was not interested in stopping now. I think it probably, I think probably helps that I started and stopped on September or my year ended on, like the end of August, and it was really nice outside. Right? And that was not intentional. So it’s much more but it was much easier to say I think I’ll go outside again tomorrow and not break my streak when tomorrow was not going to be say, negative 16 degrees and windy. If I had maybe tried to start and stop in January, I might have had a different attitude. But, you know, I really was not interested in stopping and I could now crave that mental space that being outside gives me and that ability to sort of just show it all, and literally walk away for a few minutes and in a lot of instances, and then come back to it. And I also find that that, even though I definitely, you know, go look at a fire or mow my grass or whatever, before my challenge, the intentionality aspect of creating that habit is really the game changing aspect there, that stepping away on purpose and not going outside on purpose. And I think that’s what you’re really talking about is when people send you these emails and say, I know, I never went outside before. Well, of course, they mean, they walk to their car, they went outside, right, but never with perhaps they intentionality that they’re now experiencing things to work. Is that sound, right?

FW 16:36

I think so. And also, you know, part of that intentionality is finding the elements of nature that really speak to you, you know, and you’re not gonna find that necessarily walking down your driveway. But by spending a little more time outside, you can know that actually, I love looking at water, that’s what really makes me feel great, or I don’t feel safe looking at water, I want to look, I want to be like nestled into a cozy forest. And I want to hear the birds and see a lot of green. It’s amazing how much variation there is, you know, and sort of, you know, what different people like, and I really encourage people to experiment, you know, see which environments really sing to them? Or where is your happy place? And, and that’s where the intention should be, you know, really seeking out those spots. And, you know, getting back to the sort of dose question to I mean, I would say 20 minutes isn’t really even a micro dose, I think that’s kind of a substantial dose, really, I mean, the micro doses I’m talking about are, you know, 30 seconds, you know, looking at the clouds from your desk, look at some look at a tree, you know, go go drink your morning coffee for a few minutes outside. Even those micro doses, the science suggests that they really can help sort of clear your brain helps slow you down a little bit, calm you down and kind of reset your stress levels in a good way.

AB 17:56

So but what I hear you saying at the same time is even those micro doses have an intentionality with them, right? You’re not just trying to get it over with or because you’re about to lose it on your kid or something. Right? You’re going outside to get a dose of nature.

FW 18:11

Yeah, I mean, the science really shows that when you are deliberate about it. Just the benefits are better. Because, again, you’re in a more mindful state, where you’re paying attention to what it is that you’re experiencing.

AB 18:24

I appreciate what you said about how there’s a large variance in what people like to do outside too, because I think it’s easy to look at, I hate to say the you know, blanket the outdoor industry, but or even Instagram or whatever, right, whatever anyone else is doing. And say, I am not doing this right. Or the thing I like isn’t adventurous enough or interesting enough? I think there’s probably quite a few people who say, Well, you know, you live in Alaska, of course you like the outdoors, right? So my city street isn’t good enough for going outside every day. And I don’t think the science says that that’s true. Am I off base on that?

FW 19:05

No, I don’t think you’re off base. I think that there is a lot of variability. And I think the important thing again, as to kind of tune in, like it’s tuning into your body, um tuning into your emotional state. And it’s amazing how bad we are that. I mean, there’s so much in our modern lives and culture that teach us not to do that, right, that distract us from it. But But it turns out that, that we really need to do it to be kind of our best human selves. And, and you can totally learn to do it, you can learn to cultivate a sense of beauty, you know, to appreciate it, like little kids have it right. They have this wonder, just naturally and then we get kind of jaded and busy as we get older, but we can regain it. And that’s a beautiful thing. You know, I mean, another thing I was thinking of when you were talking about your husband, you know, taking off his backpack sort of mentally and literally. That I think what happens is that there’s this sort of threshold that people cross, where they kind of leave in some ways they leave their human world behind a little bit, and are able to engage, you know, with their natural surroundings kind of with nature, they’re really able to almost be in a different place a different space, where they’re actually interacting, you know, with nature. As people, sometimes people call that like a liminal zone, right. And, you know, that’s a really beautiful experience, too, because it gets us out of our own kind of personal dramas. And it gets us into a place where we feel more connected, more connected to the world around us. And in turn, that makes us feel more connected to other people to not just the natural world. But when our own kind of ego shrinks a little bit, then we’re more available, you know, what’s around us. And that’s really, really good for our emotional health.

AB 21:02

I love that casting as it as available. It’s another way of saying intentional, right, but it sort of reframes it as opening, opening your proverbial schedule, or actual schedule to receive whatever nature has for you that day.

FW 21:24

That’s right. Sometimes the act of seeking seeking seeking, you know, isn’t isn’t its own kind of stress. And if we think of it as rather than seeking as just waiting, you know, being receptive, being open. I think it’s in some ways, it’s, it’s a more restful place to be.

AB 21:46

Yeah, I’m definitely a seeking kind of person.

FW 21:49

yeah, I am to until more — I’m trying,

AB 21:53

I hear that.

AB 23:43

So I don’t want to cast medication as evil because it certainly is not. But we also know that if only because I deal so often with the Department of Veterans Affairs, which just loves to financially support medication over things like nature therapy, what is the medical community missing by leaning so heavily on medication? And maybe unintentionally, or even intentionally dismissing this idea of nature as a semi medical or met actual medical option?

FW 23:18

Yeah, well, that’s a big question. I mean, I don’t want to sort of categorically disparage the medical community, because there are actually a lot of practitioners and clinicians out there who are kind of tuning in to some of this evidence, and are telling their patients to go outside. You know, and maybe waiting to prescribe, you know, to prescribe drugs in general, sort of other things are tried.

AB 23:39

And we actually heard from Dr. Suzanne Bartlett, Hackenmiller a couple weeks ago, or last week. Yeah, on this podcast. So yeah.

FW 23:48

I’m a big fan of her work. Yes, exactly. So so I think people are starting to catch on. What’s interesting, though, is, you know, like, the rest of us doctors have often grown up disconnected from nature. So, you know, they were really great academics. And they’ve just lived in modern life, right. And so they weren’t, you know, necessarily experiencing a lot of time in nature. And then in medical school, you know, especially the same thing right there, like in these artificial environments all the time. And so, I don’t really want to blame them. I mean, the system is sort of set up, you know, to be, you know, you know, of course, all these drug companies lobby, the medical community, there’s no one like lobbying on behalf of nature. No one is paying someone to go take doctors out to lunch and say, You should be smelling the flowers. So I mean, just the capitalist sort of industrialists society is not really set up to sort of advocate, unfortunately for time in nature, but that’s where, you know, people like you come in, because you’re talking about these things. And I think you and I, you know, so I think, I think, you know, we need to make sure that this evidence kind of reaches a popular audience, you know, and reaches lay people. You know, what I try to do is take what the scientists are doing and kind of make it more accessible. I think we need to keep doing that. And I think we also need to keep lobbying for things like, greener schoolyards for our kids so that we don’t have another generation of kids disconnected from nature. I think it’s so important to get our kids outside. That’s something I’m really, really passionate about right now. And of course, our spouses at ourselves.

AB 25:35

Yeah. So when people ask you for advice on getting the most out of nature, maybe just right where they are, as opposed to going to a wilderness area? What do you tell them?

FW 25:49

Well, that is really something I’ve been thinking about a lot like many of us this pandemic year, where we’ve been largely stuck in place, not able to venture out to, you know, our fabulous wilderness areas, maybe where we might otherwise go. And I mean, I’ve talked about nearby and urban nature for a long time, but but I feel like, personally, I have been very dependent on the research that I did. And there are ways to really access again, this sense of beauty and a sense of connection, even in urban nature. So I have certainly taken this to heart, there are certain things that I do to kind of put myself in the present moment, and I’m happy to share some of those. So even when I’m going out, you know, on a walk, or in a city street, I will try to really look around me. And I’ll, I’ll try to wonder like, I’ll ask myself, Oh, are there birds here today? And are these birds different than were here last week? Can I see some birds? Or am I just hearing them? How far away? Do they sound? How close do they sound? Are there a fractal patterns that I’m seeing in the trees or in the flower petals? Are there insects, you know, crawling around that you do have have something to show me. And then and then I am I’m really very keyed into my sense of smell, it’s kind of my superpower. And I also, you know, for all of us, really, who have a sense of smell. Some of us don’t. It is a direct pathway to the brain, as opposed to the other senses that get kind of processed, you know, through these other structures on the way, but it goes right to our emotional brains, and we can change our moods really, really quickly, if we smell something wonderful. Whether it’s something that may be evocative of some other, you know, parts of our past or whether it’s just a beautiful smell. So like, I am one of these weird people who’s like constantly picking leaves and needles off of my neighbor’s kind of shrubbery. And I’m crumpling it up, and I’m smelling it. And then I’m walking, you know, for many, many minutes or miles, like carrying these needles around, and I’m smelling them and then I’m, you know, finding some other needles. So I would totally recommend that. And then you know, also looking up is a really cool thing to do in the city. So you know, if you can get out at sunset, right, the sky, the light is just cool. You can get out at night, kind of check in with where the moon is. I know we can’t always see fantastic stars in the city, but we can see the moon. It’s been really fun. Like, for me to sort of, you know, go out at night, I have a dog, I walk my dog, I check in with the moon and I find that being outside in the dark like that also really is very, very helpful to my sleep. It helps reset circadian rhythms, you know, to be in the dark. And also walking in early morning light is also really good for your circadian rhythms. So they’re just like these kinds of cool things that we can still do. When we’re in a city.

AB 28:57

I’m sort of chuckling because I am imagining that a pocket full of good smelling needles is excellent, perfect protection against the Potomac, which doesn’t always smell great. So you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.

Unknown Speaker 29:13

The Potomac smells a lot better than then many parts of DC. ,

AB 29:17

That’s also true. So there you go. I, when I first started in my journalism career, I cover a DC city politics and so I spent quite a lot of time in all sorts of areas of DC smelling they did were spelling all sorts of things. Um, it is a beautiful, beautiful, very diverse place, but not all that smells great. So that’s kind of funny. And I wanted to say that anyone who follows the podcast knows I bought a hot the hot tub was my pandemic purchase.

FW 29:48

Oh, Lucky you.

AB 29:50

Oh, yeah. It’s so great. And the one of the things that I did not expect to love so much about it is that it has allowed me or pushed me, maybe it would be a better description to comfortably be outside in the dark. Not something I had ever really done here in Alaska, because it’s really dark outside, it’s winter, and it’s cold. And why would you be outside in the dark in the cold? If you could be inside and you had done a lot of time outside when it was light, right? So I just found ways to be outside when it was nice out or when the light was out.

FW 30:24

Did you find that it was helpful for your sleep?

AB 30:26

Um, you know, I don’t have trouble sleeping. Except maybe in summer a little bit. Because it’s so light outside. But yeah, that’s never been real, a real challenge. I’m a champion slepper

FW 30:39

You should be making a podcast about that.

AB 30:44

I don’t know, I don’t even know how it’s just born that way. Guys, I can’t help you. I

FW 30:47

You can make a lot of money.

AB 30:50

If I could bottle it, I would give it away for free because it is a wonderful gift. But I have been able to sit in the hot tub and look at the stars, which is not something I’d really ever done here because I was never outside in the dark. And I never stopped to think about how that was true. And still, I was sitting in my hot tub looking at the stars thinking I have literally never done this before. I’ve never stopped to look at the stars here because I’m always if it’s the summertime and the weather’s nice, if it’s dark, I’m asleep. And if it’s the wintertime and it’s dark, I already went outside during the day and I’m back inside.

FW 31:26

My friend who,I don’t get up this early, but I have a friend who she she likes to get up at dawn and she’ll take a sleeping bag and just go sit on our front stairs, and you know, drink or coffee with our sleeping bag. So, you know, it just sets her mood for the whole day.

AB 31:45

In the summertime. I do start my day in the hot tub as well like bright, bright, bright and early like before 5 a.m. with my coffee in the hot tub and just really watching the day start, it is nice. I do also own everyone is listened to this has heard me talk about The Pants, capital T capital P and they’re titled, and they are a pair of puffy pants from Black Diamond or Marmot make some too. And yeah, they’re fantastic. They’re sleeping like wearing a sleeping bag. It’s like wearing a sleeping bag. We have a whole episode on dressing for the winter. So everyone knows I have no problem looking like a ginormous marshmallow. Because I am warm and I recommend this to anyone else. If you want to find a way to get outside the thing that and you don’t really want to go the thing that might be holding you back is that you’re not comfortable.

FW 32:41

For me what makes a huge difference is a hood. It’s annoying, right? If it’s windy out, right? It’s really especially hard to go outside when it’s windy. And if I have like a hood or even a couple of hoods on, it’s like I just feel like I’m in a bubble and I love it.

AB 32:58

Yep, our winter gear advisor Mollie, whose husband helps run the Iditarod as an organizer, and they live up in in the cold area one of the, ,well a cold area cold area – as if — um also recommend in triplicate hoods if possible. Yeah, quite hooded. Okay, so I want you I’m hoping that you could give us a couple of tips for capturing the benefits just real get real practical. You talked about what you do you talk about smelling those things. Is there anything else that people should know about? About really harnessing the benefits of nature right outside their front door?

FW 33:41

No, I think that that’s really the key is the senses, you know, think sensorally. So there that is a shortcut to psychological restoration, is to actually use your senses. And the weird thing is how little we kind of using them. Normally, in our day to day lives, like if we live in cities, we we are spending so much time and energy filtering out kind of obnoxious sounds, and obnoxious smells. And being in a climate controlled environment. You know, it’s very under stimulating, and does not really contribute to our feeling sort of alive and vibrant. And so I you know, if there’s one message I have, well, if they’re really two, one is to just go outside, right and just do it. And the other is, is to tap in to your senses while you’re out there and and then pay attention to how you feel.

AB 34:36

Because we do such a good job of being overstimulated not even just in the city. I’m talking to you right now over Zoom. Right? So we’re looking at and looking at a screen while I’m talking to you. I’ve got just the whole world is an overly, you know, over sensory experience with electronics in our homes. So it’s we teach ourselves just to sort of like shut it down.

FW 34:59

We’re sort of overstimulated with kind of the bad stuff and under stimulated with the good stuff.

AB 35:04

Yeah. So we need to reverse that formula. Such good advice. Thank you.

FW 35:10

You’re so welcome, Amy. It’s been great.

AB 35:12

So we always close out with a couple of things, our favorite and most essential outdoor gear. So I’m hoping that you can give us some information about that. Is there anything that you use other than the hoods or perhaps it’s just the hoods that you love? I’ve had some people say snacks, by the way, is their most favorite and their most essential.

FW 35:30

So that’s, um, you know, I would say, it’s probably pants. I wear hiking pants all the time. You know, they’re a little bit wind proof. They’re tick proof. So I feel like I can kind of tromp around the woods in Washington. Um, and they’re lightweight, you know, I like ones made by Arcteryx. I also like ones made by PRana. But you know, they’re pretty basic. And yeah, I recommend them.

AB 36:05

Yeah. Gotta find a pair, a brand or a pair that fits you really good. And stick with it.

FW 36:09

Yeah. And it’s nice to have the pockets and the sort of, you know, tear proof fabric. Yeah. And, yeah, and you know, they’re good for breathability and stuff. So yeah, I tromped around in those all the time.

AB 36:21

Absolutely. Never underestimate the power of a good pair of pants, whether it be hiking pants or The Pants.

FW 36:27

Exactly, exactly.

AB 36:29

And then we always like to close ourselves out, hearing about our guest’s favorite outdoor moment, you know, so that we can close our eyes and just imagine ourselves in in a time and a spot that really made you happy. So you close your eyes and think of your favorite outdoor moment ever. Where are you and what are you doing?

FW 36:47

A couple of years ago, I mean, I know exactly the moment a couple of years ago, I did a big river trip down the Green River in Utah. It was a 30-day trip and tour, I was by myself for the last couple of weeks of it. And towards the end. It was really hot. I did it in July, and it’s through canyon country. But it was early in the morning, and there was this long kind of white sand beach, you know, underneath the canyon walls, and it was kind of a slow moving spot in the current and I pulled over I was in a canoe pull my canoe over. And I lay down a cloth. And I lay down on top of it. And I just felt my whole body against the sand. And I could hear the sound of the river. I could almost feel sort of the vibrations of the earth against my skin. And there was a raven calling, you know, echoing down the canyon. It that was just this moment that had it all going on. makes me really happy to think of that.

AB 37:54

Florence, thank you so much for joining us on Humans Outside today. I so appreciate your time.

FW 37:59

Thank you, Amy. Thanks for having me on.

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