February 2023 Uplifting News

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The purpose of this uplifting newsletter is to provide you with a change of scenery through heartwarming stories and insightful advice as well as give you a smile for a few minutes. I hope you enjoy!

If you know of any local families or organizations that are especially in need at this time, please give me a call or reply to this email. I will do my best to spread the word!

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In case you needed a good reason to relax, research has shown that relaxation keeps you healthier, reduces stress, eases tension in your body, and helps to improve mental well-being. Not to mention that letting yourself relax is an act of self-love.

It can feel overwhelming figuring out where to start, so here are eight relaxation tips to get you started. https://tinyurl.com/uplift02231

Using mindfulness meditation to relax can help you practice self-love and learn to truly appreciate how wonderful you are. Find out how to better connect with yourself with Headspace. https://tinyurl.com/uplift02232

Yoga is proven to help reduce feelings of stress and is an excellent way to relax during busy days. Check out this quick five-minute relaxation practice. https://tinyurl.com/uplift02233

If cuddling your pet is more your thing, then you’ll be pleased to know that studies show spending time with our furry friends physically and mentally aids relaxation. https://tinyurl.com/uplift02234

Because we all need to be uplifted and enjoy a good laugh…
Hello, how is your heart today? Starting a conversation with the stock line of “How are you?” often leads to a stock response along the lines of “Good, thank you,” even if the reality is anything but. For some ideas on more meaningful conversation starters and how to enter a situation more compassionately, check out this piece by Kat Vellos. Vellos discusses why asking “How are you?” is less thoughtful than you might think and instead what to replace it with. More: https://tinyurl.com/uplift0223a

Celebrating the sound of silence. In a noisy modern world, the experience of silence is becoming an increasingly rare commodity. Daniel A. Gross at Nautilus explores the concept, psychology, and science around silence, looking into the health effects of silence or a lack thereof, the brain and body’s physical response to it, and the country that uses silence as its most powerful marketing tool. More: https://tinyurl.com/uplift0223b

2022’s most glorious images. The 2022 edition of the London Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition has provided us with some absolutely stunning imagery from all across the natural world. The wide spectrum of photos entered simultaneously provide us a glimpse of our planet’s beauty, the realities of our impacts on nature, and a harsh reminder of what we’re at risk of losing if we as a species don’t act now. The winning shots are available online in all their glory. More: https://tinyurl.com/uplift0223c

Feel-Good Murals Brighten Up Roads and Improve Safety
Cities can sometimes feel like concrete jungles with ugly paved roads taking up stretches of space alongside buildings and cars. Not only are these gray slabs of asphalt uninspiring to look at, but they can also cause people to carelessly speed through, paying no attention to their surroundings or to pedestrians.

With a little paint and some community spirit, street art is brightening up roads across the world. Bloomberg Philanthropies, which runs the “Asphalt Art Initiative,” is funding creative pursuits that transform urban areas, including roads, pedestrian sites, and public infrastructure. Street art has finally been recognized as a benefit to the local community.

One reason for this is that feel-good murals do more than just improve the aesthetics of an area. They may actually be saving lives.

Take Kansas City, Missouri, as an awesome example. By sprucing up a dangerous intersection with bold and colorful art, the city cut the average speeds of drivers by almost half. If that’s not impressive enough, 63 percent of pedestrians claimed they felt “very safe” once the mural was complete, compared to just 23 percent before.

These incredible outcomes can be seen elsewhere, with 22 of Bloomberg’s “asphalt art” sites boasting statistics that show a 50 percent reduction in crashes involving pedestrians. Similarly, pedestrian accidents that resulted in injury were cut by over a third.

It’s statistics like these that give credibility to the campaign to add color to our urban landscapes. Our leaders and policy makers are more likely to back these projects when they can see the measurable benefits they bring to the local community.

Community investors like Bloomberg help make road murals a reality, backing more than 40 projects across the United States and a handful in Europe, with plans to expand across Europe in the future.

You can find electrifying murals on pedestrian crossings at Tottenham Court Road in London, courtesy of British-Nigerian designer Yinka Ilori. In Glasgow, the entrance to Anderson Station was transformed with dazzling colors designed by Scottish artist Gabriella Marcella.

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The People and Places Using Rewilding to Restore Nature
As we move through the Anthropocene and humanity drives our planet’s wild places ever closer to the brink, the practice of rewilding is becoming an increasingly important concept in global biodiversity conservation efforts and the fight against climate change.

Rewilding involves actively returning previously “tamed” lands to a state of wilderness by restoring the natural ecosystem, removing the historical impact of agricultural or urban development and protecting native “keystone species,” that is, species of flora and fauna that play important roles in the health of the surrounding environment.

It’s a movement that is taking off all across the world, none more so than in the United Kingdom. Rewilding efforts in the UK have seen large areas of previously human-impacted land successfully returned to the natural order of things. One successful example is Knepp, a former farmland and castle grounds in Sussex that is now home to natural herds of free-roaming wild cattle, deer, and pigs; rare birds such as the turtle dove, and a recovering population of the incredibly beautiful purple emperor butterfly.

More recently, the townspeople of Langholm in Scotland have helped the UK’s rewilding movement secure another win in the battle for nature. When 5,200 acres of land in the surrounding Tarras Valley, which had previously been the Duke of Buccleugh’s hunting grounds, was put up for auction by the Buccleugh estate, residents pooled funds together to purchase the land and begin an ambitious new rewilding effort.

Owing in part to having fallen into what habit would have us call an “overgrown” state during its previous ownership, Tarras Valley now has huge potential as a new wilderness. Fallen ancient oak trees are sprouting saplings, wild black grouse are thriving, and the valley is set to provide a lasting habitat for wildlife previously driven out by human intervention. Tarras’s future is bright.

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This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter.