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  • Writer's pictureJack Winston

Nature & Mental Health, Start Small, Extraordinary Lives


The Friday Focus is a weekly newsletter where we highlight:

  1. A piece of content we love so you don’t have to doomscroll to find something interesting

  2. A tip to help you reduce your screen time

  3. A quote that has us thinking

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If you like these posts or have some recommendations of your own, feel free to reach out to us at


Podcast We Love 🎤

This podcast came highly recommended from one of our readers and it did not disappoint.

I’m not going to lie: a few years ago if you told me that “connecting with nature” played a crucial role in our mental and physical health, I would have thought you were crazy. I mean, what does that even mean?

In my mind, the way you improved your mental health was you took some pills and went to a therapist.

Don’t get me wrong - I’m not knocking psychopharmaceuticals or therapy at all. They play an important role for so many people.

But if I’ve learned anything during the last 1.5 years, it’s that everything is connected. Your mental health is not purely biological. Your biology certainly plays a role, but so does your environment.

And too many of us underplay the role our environment and daily habits play into our mental health.

The food you eat. The friends (or lack thereof) you keep. The work you do. The movement you engage in. How much sun you get.

Everything plays a role in your mental and emotional state, and I would argue for the vast majority of people, misalignment in these areas is the primary cause of mental distress.

I firmly believe that connecting with nature is something that can significantly improve your mental health. Things like getting sun, walking in the park, grounding, eating unprocessed foods, and meditating. Living how we were evolved to live.

I used to be cooped up in an office all day, eating processed foods, never exercising, and only getting outside during my commute. I thought I was miserable because of my job, but then I quit my job and I was still miserable.

It wasn’t until I started paying attention to how I was living holistically that I found a more sustainable and enjoyable existence.

Again I’m not knocking psychopharmeucuticals - I took them for years and they did help somewhat. But looking back, it’s clear they were primarily masking the symptoms instead of fixing the problem.

If you’re struggling with mental health issues, give this podcast a listen and open your mind up to the possibilities. Get sun, exercise, eat well, and live life intentionally.

Tip to Reduce Your Screen Time 📱

Start small

When we talk to people who have tried to reduce their screen time and failed, a common theme has come up.

Let’s look at the story of one of these people - let’s call her Sally.

Sally was motivated to get off their phone because she realized she was wasting 8 hours a day mindlessly scrolling.

So they downloaded Present to help. When setting their goal, they thought about how much time they would ideally spend on their phone. Sally decided 2 hours seemed good.

Sally tried EXTREMELY hard on the first day and hit her goal - yay! One day streak.

But on the second day, she tried hard, but not as hard as on the first day, so she ended up with 3 hours of screen time missed her goal of 2 hours. Still, a big decrease from 8 hours!

But she never hit her goal again. And soon, her screen time went from 3 hours, to 4 hours, to 5 hours, and eventually it was back right where she started at 8 hours.

The problem here is that she set a goal that was too ambitious. It required TREMENDOUS self-control and effort to hit. And once she went over it, she lost all motivation to keep it any lower.

It’s like if you’re training for a marathon and you try to run 26 miles on the first day. You go out to run and maybe with all your effort you get 10 miles. You get so discouraged and think you’ll never be able to run one, so why even try in the first place.

So our recommendation to everyone when coming up with screen time goals is to start SMALL.

Understand where you are now and come up with a realistic near-term goal you can hit with effort, but not so much effort you’ll only hit it 5% of the time.

You want a goal that you can consistently hit EVERY DAY so that you prove to yourself that you can make progress. If you do this, you’ll take pride in it and will be less likely to fall off the wagon.

My rule of thumb is take your screen time and try to subtract 15-30 minutes every few weeks. It might seem small, but pretty soon you’ll make a massive dent.

Quote That Has Us Thinking 🧠

“Your everyday ordinary life is not separate from the extraordinary world” - Rich Roll


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