Updated: Apr 12, 2019
How much influence does your environment have on you? The principle of nature vs. nurture has been a topic of discussion amongst parents, academics and researchers for a long time. The nature vs. nurture debate within psychology is concerned with the extent to which particular aspects of behavior are a product of either inherited (i.e., genetic) or acquired (i.e., learned) characteristics.
Our goal is not to answer this question, but rather to provide a strategy for becoming aware, regardless if it's nature or nurture in order for us to improve our overall well-being, without hiding behind an excuse of "this is just who I am," or "this is just how it's always been."
July is global #plasticfreejuly with the aim to bring awareness of how our reliance on convenience is killing the planet. Discarded plastic, especially single-use end up in our oceans and now in our food supply. A recent article discusses research by the World Health Organization that found micro plastics in 90% of bottled water. This is not just the way it always was, or just who we are as humans.
However, we are long past the era where we live off self-sustaining farms and a short supply of store bought items. Does it help to go back to those ways of living? Perhaps, as an alternative we can relate the current state of our planet to a challenge in our awareness. Once we become fully aware of our environmental influences, we can make changes for the better. Like the saying goes, you don't know what you don't know. So now that we DO know, what are we going to do about it?
Let's take a look at how we can bring awareness to our journey in tough times: loss, grief, cancer, infertility, eating disorders and divorce. Take one of the above mentioned challenges and break it down into manageable steps:
1. Journal down one sentence: I would like my environment (mental and physically) to be ___________ after I overcome this challenge in my life
2. I need the following tools: ________________ (guided journal, therapist, support group, meditation etc.)
3. My timeline is: __________ (flexible and reasonable)
4. Who is my TRUE support? __________________ (non-judgemental, family, friends, co-workers)
I am now aware of how I want my current environment to improve for optimal health. I have the resources to reach my goals.
For example: (Emotional Eating Challenge)
1. I would like my environment to be clutter free of negative body image emotions, toxic people and become more eco-friendly.
2. I need a glass jars, reusable bags and a nutritionist that can help me reach my specific goals.
3. My timeline is one month from today, I would like to have less plastic waste, fewer negative emotions and a healthier body. I will start tomorrow (because that's what I've always done, I don't want to rush into things).
4. My true support is firstly MYSELF, my mom and my friend Al.
By relating this easy template as a strategy to start dealing with our challenges, our mental state, emotional environment and our spiritual surroundings we succeed in bringing awareness to the conscious level. From there we can use tools at our disposal to help us become active participants in our own healing. Guided journaling is like a check-in, necessary for our growth towards our holistically healed selves.
Whether it is nature or nurture, now the we are AWARE, how do we redirect our emotions, thoughts and actions to create a better environment for us to thrive in?
Keep Journaling, Keep Growing!