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Outdoor meditation

Story and image photography contributed by Mark Stein

Peace means that, amid turmoil, noise, and argumentative people, you can find that calm place in your heart and mind.

Many speak of the value of meditating by sitting quietly and concentrating entirely on deep breaths, blocking out what's around you to release the tension and to breathe in fresh energy. There are two ways to rid yourself of bad energy by breathing in new energy:

sit cross-legged on the floor with eyes closed and arms out-stretched with several fingers touching each other

stand outdoors in bare feet on the grass with your arms stretched out and eyes closed with hands wide open facing upwards

However, I use another practice. I ground myself by spending time outdoors, either along a wooded trail or by the water. I stop along the path, close my eyes while standing quietly, and take deep breaths in and out. I relish the silence and the sensory simplicity of my natural surroundings. I did this over the weekend, and while my eyes were closed, I sensed something gently moving close by. I opened my eyes slowly and noticed a family of grazing deer. They appeared undisturbed by my presence. It was as if I naturally belonged in their space. They were not bothered whatsoever when I took my camera out of my jacket pocket. Every day, it is important to 'go to your happy place' somehow. Making this a habit will help soothe all sorts of anxiety triggers.

It has been shown that when you take time for yourself, you will manage your reactivity to situations and improve your immune system.

If our bodies are in a perpetual state of fight or flight, we are expending too much energy reacting rather than being proactive in building our immunity. Taking ten minutes a day to concentrate on expelling the old air in your lungs can release the stress in your mind and heart.

In addition, purposefully breathing in new air can make a significant difference in the remaining 23.9 hours of the day. Take the time for yourself -no one deserves it more than you do!

Mark Stein is a Nova Scotia writer, photographer and nature lover who believes in making a positive difference to those he meets.

His daily column, Photo Friends, combines photographs with thought-provoking messages to uplift and inspire.

He engages readers with his unique perspectives and insights, always inviting feedback and discussion.

To sign up for Photo Friends, email Mark at

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