3 brain-based reasons why going “off-the-Grid” can benefit your health & vitality

Have you felt the deep desire to just press P A U S E on the world lately? 

I confess - I know I have more than usual. 

You see, our nervous system isn’t designed to deal with repeating stressors stacked one after the other. It doesn’t matter if it’s a horrific news story or a saber tooth tiger in your front yard. Your brain and body processes stress the exact same way no matter what the stimulation is. You release the stress hormone cortisol reading social media just as you would if you were face to face with a tiger. 

Now, this doesn’t mean hide and escape from the reality of the world (even though I know at times you probably want to). As important as it is to have a sense of what’s happening in our community, it is OK to give yourself a break from the scroll and news. In fact, your brain will thank you now and into the future. 

You might be thinking, “But Dr. Mel, if I care for myself, isn’t that selfish? What about others in the world suffering who need my help?”

I hear you, trust me. My heart aches for those in situations without food, justice, clean water, and/or access to planetary resources that I believe should be readily available for all. 

AND…if your mission is to create a different world in which the image above becomes a reality, then it’s your responsibility to take care of yourself SO THAT you can take care of others. I know this sounds cliche, but from a brain-based perspective you cannot serve from an overwhelmed, overstimulated nervous system. Period. Well, you can…but that strategy will only last you so long. 

So why “Retreat?” Why go “off-the-Grid?”

Here are 3 brain-based reasons why a healing retreat can serve you in your daily life.

1. A “time-in” vs. a “time-out” from life. I use quotation marks purposefully when using the word retreat. By definition, retreat means to run away, escape, and hide. This is why you might see me replace the word retreat with immersion. When you immerse yourself into something like a healing weekend, a seminar, a workshop, or an educational program, you go all in. It’s also important to note that with something like a retreat or immersion, it’s not a “time-out” from life. You can think of it as a “time-in” or a time to go inward and reflect with the intention of emerging back into your daily life with a new, refocused perspective. 

2. New environments support your brain processing in new ways about old projects or old habits. More and more research continues to be published in regards to the health benefits of being in nature, specifically with the practice of Forest Bathing (aka an intentional walk through the trees away from the bustle of city-life). Immersing yourself into nature or outside your familiar environment forces your nervous system to adapt to new stimuli. New stimulation leads to generation of new neural pathways in the brain, allowing for new perspectives to emerge even when entering back into your daily life. While there is greater benefit to spending 48 + hours in such an environment “off-the-grid,” even 10-20 minutes daily walking in the grass or among the trees can significantly reduce stress and support internal balance.

3. Turning down the outer noise = turning up your “inner voice.” Our nervous systems love to be stimulated in a variety of ways - smell, touch, taste, sound, feel - it’s how we understand who we are in the world. Without appropriate, healthy stimulation, our brain doesn’t develop properly. This is why developing infants LOVE to touch things and put objects in their mouth at certain ages. They are getting a sense of their outer world from all different forms of stimulation and as a result, growing their neural pathways (aka brain connections). However, too much stimulation in all forms can lead to an overwhelmed, overloaded, exhausted brain and body. In simple terms, input = processing = output (like a computer). Too much input of the “wrong” kind (aka work, emails, technology, highly processed food, imbalanced relationships) = dysfunction in processing = dysfunctional outputs. Here’s my point - when we turn down the noise around us on a retreat or somewhere in nature, we begin to become attuned to the inner “noise” or voice within us. While this voice may not feel familiar at first, there can be deep wisdom from within if you listen long enough. In more holistic settings, some refer to this as your intuition or instinct - the messages from within that are calling us to pay attention before we “over think.” I like to refer to this point as “slowing down to speed up.” When we slow down, shut off the distractions, and get present, there is a world of wisdom and knowledge streaming through and around us that could be the next insight to that passion project you’ve been stuck on for years. Don’t underestimate the power of your own intuition. 

Have you ever given yourself permission to “retreat?” Have you ever thought about what it’d be like to immerse yourself in a weekend of nature, community, healing food, and time to just BE? Whether you’re a leader in the workplace looking for a complete reset or a person who’s in between passion projects (or careers) and not sure where to go next, our next Inspire Immersion is for you. Join us in resetting, refocusing, and reclaiming what really matters - YOU!

It’s designed for leaders, healers, entrepreneurs, practitioners, busy moms, stressed-out dads, and/or those with a greater vision for the planet & humanity. 

The world may feel heavy to you right now in 2022. You’re not alone. If you’re desiring a new paradigm for the planet, then your leadership most likely calls to you even in moments of fatigue, exhaustion, and shut down. 

You’ve got a vision for the world, the planet, and the future generation. Your mission is powerful. Your gifts are needed. You’re called to serve, to lead, and to impact the world differently than what we witness right now. 

And yet - you’re human. Sometimes your body-mind-spirit calls for a deep reset. 

This doesn’t make you weak. It makes you balanced.

You cannot serve and impact your community around you, the clients you serve, your kids and family from an empty cup. It’s OK to return back home to YOU more often than not. In fact, it’s necessary for self sustainability and planetary sustainability.

Give yourself permission to reset, refocus, refresh, and rejuvenate your body, mind, and soul. 

You’re beyond worth it,

Dr. Mel

PS - The Inspire team has been crafting some courses for those looking to grow their health, consciousness, and relationship with the planet. Go check out our first beta course on BodyMind Connection & Trauma Training here!

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