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Word of the Month: Explore    

Word of the Month: Explore

By Hallie Belle Sheinbaum

There are so many things to explore in our lives and endless ways to explore them. Sometimes exploration involves traveling to far-flung locales, but you can just as easily explore your everyday surroundings. Whether it's admiring the architecture of the buildings around you or noticing aspects of nature that you hadn’t paid attention to before, we are all exploring every day without even realizing it.  

And exploration is not only about seeing new places and spending time outside. You can also go on an internal journey and explore your own self. It's all up to you. There are some days when you really feel like getting out in nature, and other days where all you want is to do is stay inside and journal. There are benefits to both. Exploring can lead to enhanced creativity, less stress, and overall improved mental health.

This is why our Word of the Month for April is “Explore.” From learning from experts about how being in nature can improve our mental health to hearing from a student about their decision to study abroad during a pandemic, we will be sharing stories and insights that we hope will inspire you to explore all areas of your life. 

To get started, here are some simple ways to start exploring:

1. Explore The Outdoors

Whether you are feeling anxious or in search of a new idea, being outdoors can help. It doesn’t have to be some picturesque locale at a national park, either. The outdoors are the outdoors, no matter where you are, so take the time to take a walk around your block or to visit a local park and try to notice how your perspective changes.

2. Explore Your Thoughts

The average person has over 6,000 thoughts per day.  Sadly, most of those thoughts disappear into thin air because we are preoccupied with other things. So the next time an interesting thought occurs to you, write it down in a journal, on your phone, anywhere. Writing it down makes the idea tangible, and then you can explore it further when the time is right.

3. Explore Your Surroundings

A change of scenery can be extremely beneficial for your creative process and your ability to focus. This can be as simple as taking your computer and moving to a different room in your home. Being in a new space helps us see things differently, both literally and figuratively.

4. Explore Yourself

Spending time alone and engaging in mindfulness is a great way to take note of how you think and feel when you are by yourself. This can really help you get to know yourself better. If being alone is difficult, start small. Try to have one meal by yourself without your phone or other distractions and give yourself the space to be present with your thoughts.

We will get into more Explore stories as the month goes on, and we want to hear from you, too. What do you like to explore? Let us know in the comments below or text The Local Optimist Hotline at 310.299.9414.