Nature’s Time for Self-Renewal
By Ruth Anne Plourde

According to the calendar Spring begins March 20th. However, Minnesota’s Spring rarely begins in March. Often in March, during the state basketball tournaments, we get our heaviest snow fall. But, putting weather aside, what does spring mean to you. Have you ever looked up the meaning of spring in the dictionary. There are many different definitions depending upon whether it is considered a noun, a verb, or an adjective.

One of the definitions of spring, as a noun is, the point at which something begins its course of existence. The point at which something begins its course of existence. That is precisely what the season of spring is -- the point at which nature renews herself, the beginning of a new growing season. And for me, watching nature renew herself each spring, nurtures my mind, body and soul.

We as human beings also need to nurture and renew ourselves on a regular basis. However, we often let the demands of daily life take hold, so much so, that we hold on to our stressors way too long and we become fatigued, irritable and even ill. In fact, it is estimated that job stress costs American industry over $200 billion annually through absenteeism, reduced productivity, accidents and employee turnover.

There is a Chinese proverb that states,

"That birds fly overhead, this we cannot stop. That they build a nest in our hair, this we can prevent. "

Stress is a part of life. It is not whether we have stress in our life or not, it’s how we react to the stress that makes the difference. It’s how we act or react that can help us prevent the birds of stress from building harmful nests in our hair. There are many different ways to deal with stress and what one chooses is an individual undertaking. However, there is one common principle that applies to everyone, and that is, we all need to take time to learn and practice body/mind wellness skills now or we may have to make time for illness.

A while ago I finally purchased a cell phone. Since I am on the road a lot, I decided it would be a good idea to have a cell phone in case of an emergency. Well, a few weeks ago, I did in fact, run out of gas on an up ramp going from one freeway to the next, and was able to call the auto club for help. So the technology of my cell phone was a great benefit. But no matter how advanced the cell phone technology is, there is one catch. If I want my cell phone to be ready for my next "call for help", I have to remember to plug it in and give it time to recharge itself.

Thus, the universal principle is, that like the cell phone, we all must take time to relax and recharge our personal energy systems. Every day we need to create a little spring time and take time for self-renewal. If we don’t… the consequences to the human body, mind and spirit could be devastating.

Research has shown that relaxation is the natural antidote to stress. There are many different techniques that can help us activate the relaxation response, which will help us recharge our mind, body and spirit. Different breathing techniques (see this month’s Stress Less Tip), meditation, prayer, yoga, moving meditations like t’ai chi, guided imagery, walking and being out in nature, just to name a few. There is no one technique that is best. What is important is to try a variety of techniques, or a combination of techniques, to see what will help you renew your mind, body and spirit; and recharge your energy system. (Check back for stressless tips.)


Article as seen in Stressfree Living Magazine, March 2002
Copyright © 2002 INNERGIZE/ Ruth Anne Plourde. Reprint only with the express permission from copyright holder(s).
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