Open Voices Blog

Archives for posts tagged as "meditation"

Mind and Body in a Nearby Quiet Space

02/14/17 | View Comments

This post continues last week’s introduction to the health benefits of nature encounters. For greater detail and citations, please check out the new Nature Sacred Monograph “The Sacred and Nearby Nature in Cities”.

We are approaching nearly 40 years of research about the linkages between nature experiences, human disease prevention, and health promotion. As more people move into cities, nearby nature spaces that provide mental and physical health benefits are needed more than ever. Recent research reveals the effects urban noise and distractions have on our minds and bodies, and suggests ways in which nearby tranquil spaces alleviate stress.

Loud urban sounds can be harmful and irritating. A quiet green space might be your answer.

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Reclaim Quiet, Civic Sacred Space

11/29/16 | View Comments

We are bombarded with sensory input everyday, all the time. Car horn blasts, background cell-phone conversations, car exhaust, and digital screens wherever our eyes may wander. Constant stimulation is harmful to health. Urban residents need community spaces that serve as buffers from the sights and sounds of a city; elevating health and well-being for all.

The city is a place for crowds, technology, traffic, AND nature. Source: wikimedia

The city is a place for crowds, technology, traffic, AND nature. Source: wikimedia

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Where are you thankful?

11/17/15 | View Comments

Take a look around you. What do you appreciate about your space and place?

Gratitude and positive mental states become easier with practiced meditation. Meditation and mindfulness provides innumerable benefits where ever you are.  In studies investigating benefits of mindfulness and meditation, the list continues to grow:

Lowered heart rate, lowered blood pressure, improved metabolism, improved respiration, improved cognitive functions, longer attention spans and improved perceptual ability, memory, intelligence and empathy 1.

Meditation also benefits children. Credit: ABCNews/Kelly

Meditation also benefits children. Credit: ABCNews/Kelly

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Mindfulness in Green Spaces

10/28/14 | View Comments

Each month in our Open Voices blog we share insight from leaders in our communities who are advancing what it means to have sacred, open green spaces in our cities. This October we share in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Urban green spaces provide opportunities to enjoy natural scenery, relax, sit quietly, commune with others, meditate, pray, or self-reflect. Yet your surroundings, whether a small urban park or a few plants outside your window, aren’t just a backdrop for beneficial activities. The places and spaces we inhabit interact with our bodies and minds in amazing and sometimes imperceptible ways.

Research continues to expand on the mental and physical health benefits of spending time in nature. We are less stressed, more focused, and generally happier when we spend time in the outdoors. Urban green spaces, especially those small pockets of green you find hidden among your neighborhood, can provide a moment of peace and quiet. We know exercise provides innumerable benefits, but so does pausing to appreciate your surroundings and breathing with purpose. In studies investigating benefits of meditation, the list continues to grow:

Lowered heart rate, lowered blood pressure, improved metabolism, improved respiration, improved cognitive functions, longer attention spans and improved perceptual ability, memory, intelligence and empathy 1.

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    We are a private nonprofit that supports, informs, and inspires the creation of publicly accessible urban green spaces. We believe that every city resident needs nearby green space to provide opportunities for mindfulness, respite, and renewal. The Foundation has issued its final grants to build five Open Spaces Sacred Places and research the impacts on a variety of users with the hope that the powerful connection between nature, spirit and human wellbeing will be scientifically proven.

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