The events of the world around us can upset us and take a lot of energy. However, it’s often our own minds that cause the most distress. Thoughts are hard to manage. We often don’t even realize what we’re thinking, and how it’s affecting us. But these continual thoughts can weigh on us, worry us, distract us, and make us feel scattered and hopeless. To calm a busy mind, you need to build good habits–like a walking in green space habit–which provide perspective for a better mindset.
How your inner voice works
In his book Chatter, psychologist Ethan Kross describes the ‘inner voice’ we each have:
“Our verbal stream plays an indispensable role in the creation of our selves. The brain constructs meaningful narratives through autobiographical reasoning. In other words, we use our minds to write the story of our lives, with us as the main character. …The words streaming through our heads can unravel us, but they can also drive us toward meaningful accomplishments…if we know how to control them.”
We can’t turn “off” the voice in our head, but we can learn how to tone down the chatter. An article in Greater Good Magazine explains how:
“According to Kross, there are three main ways we can turn down the chatter in our heads: shifting our perspective so we’re not so immersed in our problems, talking with others to get support, and changing the environment around us.”
How a green space habit calms the chatter
One powerful daily habit recommended by Kross is going for a walk in a green space, as he explains in this podcast episode from How to Be Awesome at Your Job:
“Interacting with green spaces can be useful in a few different ways. Going for a walk in a natural space can restore your attention, which chatter often depletes. We spend so much time thinking about our problems, and all our attention is devoted to the chatter, and that can be exhausting. Nature, in a very gradual, gentle way, captures our attention… it drifts to the flowers, the trees, the shrubs… we’re just taking it in, in a gentle way, and it diverts our attention away from the chatter.”
A 15-minute walk in a green space can have a wonderful, soothing, positive effect. Since building good habits starts with tracking them, using Teamup as a habit tracker can help you add this effective and simple green space habit to your life:
Create your own habit tracker on paper:
If you already have a paper system to track your progress, keep using it. Otherwise you can easily create a new paper habit tracker with Teamup:
- Open this live calendar and press ctrl-P or command-P to print it (see more advanced options here)
- Add a checkmark every day that you walk at least 15 minutes in a green space.
Try to do it every day so you don’t break the chain.
Use a digital habit tracker:
If you prefer a digital way to update your habit journal, simply create a free Teamup calendar. Adjust the calendar Settings to fit your preferences and you can start building and tracking a great habit. Here is an example of someone’s daily exercise habit journal. Teamup has free mobile apps for iOS and Android, so you can track your habit anywhere.
In a few days, a few weeks, a few months, or even a whole year later, imagine how much calmer your mind can be. And you can look back at your checked habit and be in awe of yourself!