Congresswoman Grace Meng Responds To Jewish Community

Okay. Truth time. How many hours, days, or weeks do you spend staring at a screen? There you are again, binge-watching your fave shows, playin’ video games, checking your phone for the fifth time in the last four minutes, or just lounging around indoors in your comfy clothes. When was the last time you hung out in a green space, surrounded by trees, soaking in that natural sunlight?

Want to lower your stress level and get rid of all that anxiety? Spend some of your precious time with Mother Nature. If you are indoors a great deal: At the very least, surround yourself with plants and flowers. Speaking of which: Never go to a doctor whose plants have died. Lol. Go ahead and hang some photographs of the cosmos while you’re at it. Believe it or not, just looking at photos of the universe reminds us of our connection to other living things.

Do you recall the last time that the only sounds you heard were your own breathing and footsteps? When you venture forth, gently observe your surroundings and engage all of your senses. Enough of the concrete jungle we are all in. Remind yourself that you are part of this immense universe, larger than any of us can possibly fathom. Walk barefoot in the sand or dip your toes into the ocean. We can all use a little Vitamin Sea. Not feasible right now? No worries. Just sit and relax in your yard for a bit. Do a bit of gardening. Weed it and reap. Heh.

Envelop yourself with water, even if it means in your tub. Soak away your troubles with some bubbles. Speaking of which, are you familiar with Archimedes’ principle? What happens when you jump into a bathtub full of water? The phone rings. Heh. Use candles or essential oils to deepen the experience. Ahhhhhhhh. Let it all go… Sit near a running fountain. That’s right. Become an aquaholic. But do not breathe in the ocean. Last time I checked, that’s called drowning. Lol

Is your goal this weekend to move just enough so people don’t think you’re dead? Sheesh. Improve your mood this very second. Step out of your front door on this sunny day and see how long it takes for that smile to sweep over your face. That’s right. Sunlight boosts your mood, and calms your nervous system, in addition to providing you with that nourishing vitamin D. So soak in that soulful warmth.

Trust me when I say that inundating yourself in the rhythms of nature can heal you. Remember when you were a kid, how fascinated you were with the natural world around you? Who blew smoke rings out of their mouth with the early, chilly morning air, played in the dirt, and ran outside barefoot without a care in the world? How about lying on your back and counting stars, waiting for the shooting ones? I bet you can remember making mud pies or playing with insects. Ewww, I know. Now, we’re like: If it can fly; it should die.

Want to be like that innocent child again? Try this: Make believe you’re an alien from another planet, and what you are sensing in nature is brand new, and for the very first time. See just how many things around you and inside of you that you were not even aware of before.

Sure, there may be no Wifi in the forest, but I promise you will find a better connection. Go to as many places as you can. You can always make more money. You can’t always make memories, sweet friends.

Aren’t you tired of all the visual dangers and distractions that demand your attention on a city street? Honking cars, dogs off their leashes, people riding bikes on the sidewalk? Talk about stressors… Sometimes we are just jerked around from one perceived danger to the next. Your mind may be working overtime trying to process a mishmash and medley of stimuli. Hard to even hear the crunching of leaves under your feet or the breeze on the branches overhead.

When you do go back online, try listening to a relaxing rainforest recording, instead of immediately checking the daily horror stories in the news, or hitting Amazon up. I know, online shopping gives you a reason to live for three to five more business days. But first, diffuse some essential oils with a humidifier and just inhale.

So, what are you waiting for, sweet friends? Go hug a tree. And just remember: We humans are the only ones who cut the trees, make paper from it, and write “Save the Trees” on it. Are you outdoors yet?


Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at facebook.com/pages/Safe-Haven-Healing.