Spend Time in Nature to Reduce Stress of City Life

As someone who lives in New York, I’ve met a lot of lifelong New Yorkers who have told me they don’t like nature, they don’t need it, and they’re doing just fine without it. Many of those same people also confided in me that they struggle with alcohol, depression, anxiety, impatience, sleep issues, dissatisfaction in life, loneliness and stress. This is not a coincidence. (If you’ve ever noticed stressful, negative thoughts lingering around long after a stressful event is over, this podcast is for you.)

When I first moved to New York City over a decade ago, I immediately noticed how the fast pace of the city was making me stressed. I felt a need to go to Central Park everyday to just relax and destress. I didn’t make it every single day, but my body and mind sure noticed when I missed a day.

It’s no wonder that science is showing us how a little nature can vastly improve our mood, our health, and our day. We’re designed to be completely surrounded by nature 24/7. We come from nature, and we are a species disconnected from our mother.

Just like how we need loving relationships and nutritious food to thrive, it is equally important that we spend some time communing with nature everyday. It doesn’t have to be a forest or park if that’s too far away. It can be a walk down the sidewalk, paying extra attention to the plants and birds. It can be filling a cup with some dirt, and instead of tossing out the rooted ends of a green onion, you can grow a beautiful plant for free and that you can eat. Any kind of edible gardening adds a whole new dimension to our connection with nature.

And here’s the real beauty. You are nature. You don’t need anything outside of you to feel the miracle of life. Pets are amazing (I wish I could have a million of them but I travel too much), but we are always with ourself. When we spend a bit of time aware of our body, aware of our thoughts and feelings, and aware of our awareness, nature can speak through us.

Nature has infinite lessons to teach us if we’re willing to listen. Nature doesn’t judge, it doesn’t live in the past or future, and it always knows exactly what to do. The more time we spend in touch with nature, the more we become like nature. (With each inhale, we can welcome each new moment. With each exhale, we can let it go. More on how to do that in the movie, You Are This Moment.)


Here’s what I would like you to do this week:

  1. Introduce some more nature into your life. Try everyday to just be with nature — be with a plant, be with yourself, stare out the window, or be with your pet. (Nature can be our greatest teacher if we learn how to listen correctly. Here’s how to make your mind like nature.)
  2. If it’s available to you, at least once a week go for a walk, visit a park, or take a hike. It can be laying on a blanket, playing games, jogging, biking, whatever calls to you. I recommend keeping the phones, substances, and other distractions away during nature time.
  3. Try a walking meditation. This is a wonderful way to connect with ourselves and with nature at the same time. To do this, simply walk slowly and feel each step fully. Feel each foot as it comes up, feel the weight shifting from one side of the body to the other, and feel the other foot coming down to the ground. If things are particularly stressful or chaotic, try saying a two syllable mantra, like “Buddha,” saying the first syllable in our mind as we lift our foot, and saying the second syllable as the foot comes down. It can be for ten minutes or an hour. Just make sure you don’t walk into traffic.

Much love,


Join 10,000 Mental Steps Challenge

You deserve happiness.Your loved ones deserve happiness.

The Art of Gratitude | Short Film

Gratitude is the most important human emotion because it alone determines the quality of our life. This film is a roadmap back to our grateful hearts.