Yes! It’s true.
Chris Evans, actor, widely-known as Captain America, recently opened up about his struggle with anxiety and “brain noise.” In his interview, he admitted to turning down the role of Captain America multiple times. Taking the role meant he was committing to six movies and a decade of his life. This lack of control and commitment freaked him out.
But eventually he came around.
Evans also shared a Hulk-Sized lesson about “brain noise” and battling negative thoughts.
“The root of suffering is following that
brain noise and listening to that brain
noise and actually identifying with it
as if it’s who you are.”
He hit it on the head! Negative thoughts (or Brain Noise) can be awful…make us feel like garbage…make us feel unworthy… but they get exponentially worse when you believe it’s who you really are.
I’ve sang this melody before but it bares repeatin’:
You are NOT your thoughts.
You are WAY more than your thoughts.
Your thoughts may be things spouted out by your parents…previous significant other… coworkers… friends…
(That’s one reason why who you surround yourself with is so important)
Or your thoughts come from what you read… watch… listen to…
(“You are what you eat” applies with information too)
But when you realize your thoughts are NOT you.
You can rise above them… and take back control of them.
One more nugget Evans shared:
“Maybe the thing you’re most scared of is exactly what you should do.
Maybe this is actually what you should push yourself into”
Cheers to that Captain America
When I tell people where I’m from, I get a glazed donut look.
Because most people recognize Buffalo Grove as well as a monkey doing a math problem. Hands down it’s easier to just say Chicago.
Also, when a non-Chicagoan hears Buffalo Grove, they usually ask,
“Are there any buffalo?”
Sadly, there are zilch. But, there is another massive animal lurking nearby.
If you wander 15 minutos south, there is a forest preserve home to a herd of elk, in “Elk” Grove. Now talk about impressive animals! They can tower over 9ft tall and are one of the fastest land mammals… sprinting up to 45 mph… and can leap eight feet vertically. Plus, bull elk make a low-pitched roar (sounding eerily like Ringwraiths from Lord of The Rings)
Any who, in this forest preserve, you can walk… roller blade… bike… even skip around a gravel trail while watching these 700 pound beasts.
Besides marveling at these giants though, when you’re there, you totally forget you’re in the suburbs – and feel as if you’ve been dropped into the wilderness of Colorado. It’s truly an escape.
But research is showing there is something else about natural environments like this – some that actually change your brain!
Without further ado.
Here are 5 Health-Boosting Effects Of Nature:
1) Eases Tension, Anxiety and Depression
Researchers at Stanford University found walking for 90 minutes in nature “decreased activity in the brain associated with a key factor in depression”. Another 2015 study, found walking in nature decreased anxiety… reduced rumination (replaying events or situations over… and over)… and increased happiness and other positive emotions. A study in South Korea even found simply staring at photos of nature boosts emotional stability and positivity.
2) Boosts Sleep Quality
Spending time in nature enhances sleep quality. The exposure to sunlight improves your melatonin – a hormone that regulates your sleep cycles.
3) Prevents Damaging Eyesight
Hours behind a computer, telefono, or reading books strains the eyes. Researchers at Ohio State, the Australian National University, and Yat-sen University (China) found that lack of sunlight exposure is a major factor in myopia (nearsightedness) in children. When you stroll outside, your eyes can easily relax by focusing on objects in the distance.
4) Heightens Creativity
German researchers found that surrounding yourself in nature surges your creativity levels. One 2012 study even showed that simply glancing at the color green for under 10s boosted creativity more than any other color.
5) Changes Your Brain
According to a study at the Max Plank Institute for Human Development, people who lived close to forests had a healthier amygdala – this is the almond-shaped part of the brain responsible for anxiety and the stress response.
Researchers predict, the healthier this part of the brain is, the more resilient you are, and the better you are at handling stress. So simply living closer to nature makes this part of the brain healthier (even when controlled for other factors)
So if you’re a city dweller, spend more time in these places… even if it’s just a couple minutes each day.
It doesn’t have to be fancy.
It doesn’t have to have elk (shucks!).
It just has to be nature.
It’s easy to do
But also easy not to do.
One day, I was chitchatting with a pilot.
He told me that during flight training, he had to purposely go into something called an aircraft stall.
(This is a where the nose of the plane drops, causing it to head straight to the ground… sometimes going into a spin… and in some cases ending in a fatal crash).
Future pilots practice going into aircraft stalls so they know exactly what to do (if it were to happen) and how to get out of it.
So I asked him, What usually causes an aircraft to stall?
He replied, not enough speed.
This hit me like a ton of bricks.
This was a perfect metaphor for when people are struggling. I had seen this pattern a million times. So often people stop moving…. they start retreating… they stay-at-home…they avoid certain situations… they avoid asking for help…
And it’s totally understandable - but they lose momentum and that’s when a stall happen.
Then they stop making progress on their goals, their relationships strain, and sometimes their health plummets.
And they feel like they are falling.
How do you get out of a stall?
You regain speed.
You start moving again… doing activities that bring purpose to your life… start taking action again… even if it’s small habits… small tasks…
That’s how you get out of a stall - and likewise how to get out of feeling like you’re spinning.
Take that first step today,
P.S. If regaining speed is key to getting control of our life again, how can we stop the negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions that hold us back.
Sometimes we feel like lumpy dirt…
It’ll happen. And if any expert, doctor, or speaker tries to convince you otherwise – run for the hills and KEEP RUNNING
Because it’ll happen to us all, the question is how long do we stay there and how frequently does it happen.
There is an insidious type of feeling bad though.
It’s where you feel bad… about feeling bad.
Sad about feeling sad
Guilty about feeling guilty
Anxious about feeling anxious
It’s an emotional double-whammy.
Because we aren’t just feeling bad but judging ourselves in the process. And now research has finally started catching on to the consequences.
A study done by the University of California, published by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology took 1,300 adults in the Denver and San Francisco area to look at the connection between psychological health and accepting emotions.
Here’s what one of the researchers, Brett Ford, found:
“People who accept these emotions without
judging or trying to change them are able to
cope with their stress more successfully.”
I agree with Sir Ford.
It’s important first and foremost to be honest about the emotion you are feeling.
Not to tell yourself, I shouldn’t be feeling this way… This shouldn’t be a good deal…
So accept the emotion you are feeling.
It does NOT mean you have to stay there for long.
It does NOT mean you are settling.
It does NOT mean you are giving up.
It just means you are recognizing the feeling for what it is.
Then you can have power over it… then you can try to change it.
P. S. Here’s something to feast on: I mentioned the emotional pattern of feeling bad-about-feeling-bad. But what if you were to use this same pattern on positive emotions?
Feeling excited about feeling excited
Feeling happy about feeling happy
Can you do that? Absolutely.
Easy? Not at first. But like any habit it’s possible to build it up.