How I Discovered I Should Be More Outdoorsy

Welcome to Edition #47 of Consider This, your every-couple-of-weeks nudge away from the status quo.


Hey,

Last issue, I suggested that asking for help can be better than self-help. 

This issue, we get back to being selfish and independent.

I think I’ve “found” the most underrated way there is to help yourself. 

Check out everything this low-cost, all-inclusive self-help package provides:

  • Fitness.
  • Minimalism.
  • Stoic lessons.
  • Healthy sleep habits.
  • Perspective-shaking feelings of awe. 
  • Technology avoidance.
  • Social connection.
  • Cold exposure.
  • Diet.

So many benefits! It’s wild. Literally.

Consider this…

Me on the camping trip trying to be outdoorsy.

Climb the Nature Pyramid

Anyone who knows me can attest that, despite being Canadian, I am not an “outdoorsy” person. 

But Michael Easter’s excellent book with a cliché title, The Comfort Crisis, made me wonder, 

Maybe I should be? 

He introduced me to “The Nature Pyramid”:  

I’ve also made a long-not-awaited return to Instagram.
  • Level 1: 20-to-40 minute walks in natural areas in town a few times a week.
  • Level 2: 5 hours a month hiking, picnicking, cycling, or whatever in parks outside the city.
  • Level 3: 3 or more consecutive days out in the wild—no toilets, no cell reception, no glamping—once or twice a year.

According to neuroscientists’ studies (and common sense), climbing this pyramid does you a whole lotta good. 

I had Level 1 covered thanks to starting “empty pocket walks” in 2021. Same for Level 2, thanks to all the hiking trails near my hometowns of Vancouver and Cape Town.

But level 3?

Not for ages. 

Not good, says Easter. Because in addition to all the benefits I listed above, he shares studies backing “The 3-Day Effect.”

Don’t ask me how they measured this, but brain scans of people who venture into nature find that it takes a couple of days for your brain to untangle. Then it settles and goes into a sort of flow state. 

Anxiety is replaced by creativity. And it takes weeks for these benefits to fully wear off.

As Easter summarizes it,

“Three or more days in the wild is like a meditation retreat. Except talking is allowed and the experience is free of costs and gurus.” 

Michael Easter, The Comfort Crisis

Sounded great to me!

But, like I said, I’m not outdoorsy. I don’t have the gear, Boy Scout badges, and whatnot for wilderness survival. 

So I tossed the 3-day effect atop my pile of “maybe one day” ideas, and moved on to more convenient ways to improve my life.

But then, only a month later, I got my call WhatsApp to the wild.

My friend Clyde invited me to join a group on a five-day trip down a canyon outside of Cape Town.

What kind of comfort-zone-expanding blogger would I be if I said no? 

So despite my reservations, I signed up. 

You can read my experience here if you care. Long story short, my escape into the wild convinced me the 3-day effect is real. So now I’m committed to keep summiting the nature pyramid. 

Maybe, one day, I’ll even consider myself “outdoorsy.”

And maybe you might want to consider it, too?

Consider This Challenge

Take a look at the nature pyramid and ask yourself: 

Which level do you stop at?

Between now and the next Consider This, why not start moving your way up a rung?

Unless you twist your ankle, lose a toe to frostbite, or get munched by a bear, you won’t regret it.

Thought Starters

  • 🔥 Fidget for fat-loss? According to Mayo Clinic research, Easter reports, the constant semi-discomfort of having no couches to sit on and no beds to sleep on (ahem) can burn as much as 400 calories per day. 
  • 🥊 You are how you deal with stress? People at healthy weight don’t have better genetics or metabolism, reports Easter. They’re just more likely to deal with stress by going for a walk instead of eating. I wonder if similar applies to people who deal with stress by drinking/watching TV/etc…
  • 👖 Maybe it’s not your genes. “”When people are like. ‘Must be nice to have those genes,’ my response is ‘Show me your phone,'” said Jason McCarthy, founder of GoRuck. He then looks at how many steps they take and their screen time. 

Don’t just add it to your pile,

Chris

Next Consider This: The 1st-annual “Unruttys”


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