Yamagamori - Ancient Wisdom and how it can Help you Succeed
Follow along as we explore the effects of nature on your mental health and wellbeing, and how you can utilize ancient wisdom to make your life and work more successful.
There is something to be said about our modern lives, living in big cities, fighting through rush hour traffic, and getting work done sitting in front of computers. In many ways, modern technology has made everyone's lives better, but in other ways, it is exhausting and depressing us.
Many people have forgotten the feeling of loneliness when walking in the woods, the infinitesimal feeling one gets when staring at billions of stars in a light free sky, the elation that comes from summiting a peak and looking out across vast forests, and hundreds of other experiences given to us by nature.
These experiences can teach you something, something you are missing and that is both beyond yourself and something that is within yourself. These experiences have been an important part of the human condition for thousands and thousands of years; only recently have we begun to ignore them. Finding these experiences again is the purpose of a Yamagomori.
What is a Yamagomori?
When translated to English, the Japanese word Yamagomori (山篭り) literally means "secluding oneself in the mountains, undertaking ascetic practices at a mountain temple". The idea being for one to take a spiritual journey into the mountains in order to re-focus and heal your body and mind. This healing will help in every aspect of your life and will better focus you for success. This concept is incredibly powerful and is especially relevant today as fewer and fewer people have daily access to the outdoors, and more and more people are being overwhelmed with work and sadness. Don't trust the ancient wisdom of the Japanese? That's okay, there is plenty of data and charts backing it up.
Why do you need Yamagomori?
In our modern world, stress, depression, and many different pressures are all too common. In fact, according to NBC news:
"2.6 percent of youths aged 12 to17 were diagnosed with major depression in 2016, a 63 percent increase from 1.6 percent in 2013.
Among young adults aged 18 to 34, 4.4 percent had major depression in 2016, compared to 3 percent in 2013. That’s a 47 percent increase.
The highest percentage of major depression diagnoses were among people aged 35 to 49. The survey found 5.8 percent of 35-to 49-year-olds had major depression in 2016, compared to 4.6 percent three years before." Source
It is clear from the data that there is something about the way we live our lives that is hurting us on a deep spiritual and mental level, and keeping us from being the best that we can be. Maybe it is all the screens, maybe it is the stress at school and work, Maybe its social media, or maybe its because we have removed ourselves from nature. No matter what the reason is, it is clear that there is something that we are missing.
The Effects of Nature on you Mental Health
The effects of nature on your life and mental well being are well documented and incredibly diverse. A simple walk in the woods can help with everything from creativity, ability to focus, fighting depression, and inflammation, to your eyesight, short term memory, and may even help prevent cancer. One factor that especially affects our productivity at work and in life is mental fatigue. We have all had it, and thankfully nature can help us with that as well. According to Business Insider in their post about the health benefits of the outdoors: "One thing that can help get your mind back into gear is exposing it to restorative environments, which, research has found, generally means the great outdoors. One study found that people's mental energy bounced back even when they just looked at pictures of nature." Source
So, the data would seem to suggest that the Japanese aren't just right about the importance of taking a break from the stresses of work, but they are also right about the spiritual, mental, and physical rejuvenation that occurs when a person puts themselves into nature.
So, What Next?
I can personally attest to the rejuvenating powers of nature on the psyche. I have spent many days of my life backpacking, exploring state and national parks, and otherwise removing myself from the craziness of everyday life. The perspectives and thoughts I have gained through these experiences are more important to me, how I function in my relationships with others, and even how I go about my career, than anything else I have ever done.
I get it though, you don't have the time to go backpacking, or time to spend hours outdoors, that's okay. Yamagamori can be something as simple as stepping outside for a few minutes to breath during a busy day, waking up early and going to a local park on a weekend, or even scheduling an outdoor meeting with your team. The Japanese understand the importance of balance and finding time for all things required of life. This is the purpose of a Yamagamori - balance. One doesn't need to define their life by their experiences outdoors, but by making the effort you can begin to re-center yourself and find a balance. Your health and mental well-being will thank you.
About the Author
Timothy Corey is an Entrepreneur and Outdoor enthusiast. Timothy has a lot of experience backpacking, climbing, and camping. He hiked the entire Appalachian Trail in 2104 when he was only 16, he has taken an Alpinism course through the American Alpine Institute, and has spent weeks backpacking in numerous National and State parks. Timothy founded his first company, 7C's Marketing, in 2020 during his Junior year at The University of Texas at San Antonio. His goal is to draw on the experiences he has had in his life to create a customer-service focused business that helps individuals and businesses succeed.
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