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Look Up!

Posted on: July 7, 2016

He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind. Ps. 104:3

cloudsMany moons ago, I attended a writers’ conference in Colorado. Well, I think it was Colorado…could have been Wyoming. The event was so long ago I’m not sure where I was. I remember only one workshop at the conference. It was led by a thirtyish man with brown hair, but I don’t recall his topic.

However, I do remember (aren’t you relieved I remember something?!) how he ended the class. His final piece of advice was to “look up.” Sounds simplistic. Right? He said we spend most of our lives looking down or looking around us, but we don’t look up.

Try it! Elevating my gaze above the sidewalk or the horizon always encourages me and gives me hope. The vastness of the big blue sky, the ever-changing clouds that float overhead, and the reminder that our Creator is immensely bigger than his creation all serve to lift my spirits.

In addition to being a mood enhancer, looking up takes our focus off mundane daily duties and literally broadens our view and opens our minds and hearts, readying us to be stretched and inspired. We writers need to regularly escape our computer caves and take a few minutes to bask in the sunshine and breathe fresh air. Not only does the change rest 20160619_151025our eyes and our wrists, it’s good for our general well-being.

In an online article titled “Why Your Chair Is Killing You, and What You Can Do About It,” Dr. Joseph Mercola writes that “sitting is in and of itself a root problem of many of our chronic health problems… The evidence is overwhelming at this point—10,000 studies and growing—that prolonged sitting is devastating to your health. It actively promotes dozens of chronic diseases, including overweight and type 2 diabetes. As a general guideline, if you’ve been sitting for an hour, you’ve sat too long.” http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/09/28/dangers-prolonged-sitting.aspx#!

If you’re like me, you need reminders to stop in the midst of projects and move. I set my phone alarm for 25 minutes (when I remember!), do a few stretches and sit back down. In the summer, I take my laptop to the patio, where I can check the sky now and then—and take gardening and yardwork breaks. Watering, pruning and plucking all involve movement.

When possible, go for a walk or a hike. Michael Pirrone, in an online article entitled “What Hiking Does to the Brain is Pretty Amazing,” writes about the benefits of hiking. 20160624_182136“According to a study published last July in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a 90-minute walk through a natural environment had a huge positive impact on participants. In a survey taken afterward, those people who took the natural walk showed far lower levels of brooding, or obsessive worry.”

Psychologists also found that “after a four-day-long hike in the wilderness, with no access to technology, participants scored a whopping 50% higher on a test known as RAT, or Remote Associates Test. It’s a simple way of measuring the creative potential in people.” Hiking increases our focus and our creativity, improves our memories (which I obviously need!) and reduces memory loss. You can read the entire article at http://www.wimp.com/what-hiking-does-to-the-brain-is-pretty-amazing/

Writers unite! Let’s get off our duffs and move our muscles. And while we’re returning blood flow to our chair-weary legs, we must remember to look up!

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