family in winter scene pavilion pergola

How vivacious is your reality, your story? What captivates your heart, your family’s hearts?

Living in the 21st Century, it is easy to become distracted, obsessed with things we don’t really love. It is time to go outside, unplug and recharge with those we love. We believe in families and in spending time together outdoors.

“We create awesome outdoor spaces where you will want to be outside. Places where you can spend time with your family, and celebrate the relationships that you cherish.”

Yes, we build genuine, old-world timber frame pavilions, pergolas, etc. for families to comfortably enjoy nature, on any and every day, from the convenience of their home. Families tell us how much their #OutdoorLivingShelter has enriched their lives, even bringing them closer together. This is extremely rewarding.

We also know through personal experience, interacting with our own families, as well as others, that spending time together in the outdoors is incredibly important for health and family ties. Though we knew in our hearts it was true, we have been surprised by the depth of scientific evidence supporting our physical, spiritual and mental need to be connected with each other in a NATURAL environment.

family on deck in shade

We have been studying the reports of scientific experts in mental and physical well being.  So, we tried an experiment and we wanted to share our results with you. For some of us, the experience that resulted from our findings has been eye-opening. For others, it has been life-changing! There is still an endless unfolding of evidence and discovery.

Now, we’d like to share some of this science with you. It may or may not be familiar material. Hopefully, it is a resource of awakening or perhaps reawakening to a prosperous and more vivacious way of life.

From the piles of controlled studies, researchers find compulsive media use to be  the greatest addiction, blocking happiness and health, in America today. Everything from advertising, texting, television, movies, the music industry, video games, spectator sports, social networking, blogging; you name it, it is “how things are” in the world today. It is, in fact, a recognized addicting material with chemical dependencies that are similar to those found in the brains of alcohol and drug abusers.

Media addiction physically changes the brain’s structure; specifically shrinking the white matter of the prefrontal area. This region of the brain is used to remember details, prioritize, plan any task. Like alcohol and drugs, most do not recognize the danger or when it has become an addiction. The trouble is, we are surrounded by endless technology. For most, in the environment they live in, it is hard to get away from it.

Technical communications cause the brain to naturally transmit chemicals that create experiences that are in no way imaginary to the brain. It is absolutely real to the eyes, heart, and body.

The human brain is remarkably flexible, and these mesmerizing outside conditions can accelerate chemical functions in the remodeling of the brain at any age.

child afraid watching tv media
child-cell-phone-brain-waves

France, in order to protect the most vulnerable of its subjects, outlawed the airing of entertainment to children under the age of three.

According to the French court ruling, “Television viewing hurts the development of children under 3 years old and poses a certain number of risks, encouraging passivity,
slow language acquisition,
over-excitedness,
troubles with sleep and concentration
as well as dependence on screens.”

Advertising and theatrical style entertainment use rapid frame rates. The average frame rate of reference change is every three seconds. At this unnatural and rapid form of reference and dialog changes, the brainwave frequencies are altered, slowing down and turning off the frontal lobe. Chemically the mind is now controlled, lulled into a highly suggestible hypnotic state.

“Music is a spiritual thing of its own. You can hypnotize people with the music and when you get them at their weakest point, you can preach into the subconscious what you want to say.”

Life. Jimi Hendrix, October 3, 1969

This hypnotic and passively trance-like state is called the Alpha pattern. When the brain is functioning at a higher frequency, it is called the Beta pattern.

In the Beta frequency pattern our critical thinking is up; it is our moral filter. The slowed thought waves of the Alpha brain weakens the moral filter with consequences to the mind and character.

Preliminary results for a $300,000,000 study known as the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study has enrolled 11,874 children between the ages of 9 and 10. Of those, 2,100 are twins or triplets. As other studies have concluded before, their findings are also alarming. All that screen time is hitting with a force. The MRIs of the children show a thinning of the cortex, something they say, scientists have never seen before. This is the part of the brain that makes us human and has an effect on mental health and emotional development.

The Kaiser Family Foundation, One of the largest and most comprehensive publicly available sources of information on the amount and nature of media use among American youth noted, “Youth who spend more time with media report lower grades and lower levels of personal contentment.”

• In America, children ages 2-5 spend an average of 32 hours per week watching TV.

• The recommended time by America’s Academy of Pediatrics for Children for Television viewing is ZERO.

On almost any given day, American kids 8-18 years old are using media more than 7½ hours on a typical day. That is almost equal to a full workday, only instead of five days, it is seven.

Children spend 10,000 hours playing video games by the age of 18.

The average teen sends 3,300 texts per month.

Those are just a few of the concerning statistics.

Addiction to Media Games“These .. are in direct competition with the rest of reality. Most of the entertainment we’ve had in human history gives us NATURAL BREAKING POINTS: The chapter ends, the film ends, or there’s a commercial break.“Most games are set up to be played for long periods of time. It’s built into the fabric of the gamer culture, its encouraged by game marketing, and there aren’t enough good stopping points in most games for people to stop, look at the clock, and realize that it’s time to go to sleep. This will then “dull the taste for reality” and “the mediocracy of reality seems like torture by comparison”

Game Addiction: The Experience and the Effects By Neils Clark, P. Shavaun Scott

At Western Timber Frame™, We Challenged Ourselves…

Pergola picnic family

At Western Timber Frame™ we took on the serious challenge of a #MediaFast. Much of the internet has been labeling fasting as a trend but fasting has had its roots, for thousands of years. Voluntarily, people chose to go without food to sharpen their senses, improve their health, and if they were devoted religiously, they acknowledged their reliance on God, and they desire to build a deeper relationship with Him.

We use media as a tool for work but we decided to try the media fast in the rest of our life. The test was to see how much it would sharpen our senses. It was a re-wake-up call for a few of us; a whole new way of thinking for others, and for some, not only was they grateful for the experience but expressed it as being a life-altering change.

Individually, we established our own rules of what we were and were not allowed to do. For example, instead of reaching for an alarm clock, slash, phone, first thing in the morning, and then interacting with the screen, the phone was kept in another room, out of temptation’s way.

In a side-by-side analysis, the physical, mental and spiritual ground lost in the use of theatrical style media are many of the exact benefits derived by immersing yourself in a natural outdoor environment.

2005 Study of The effect of Sunlight on Spinal Surgery Patients.
The patients were given increased amounts of natural sunlight during their recovery in the hospital. The patients experienced less pain, decreased stress, needed less medication, and reduced their medical costs.
University of Pittsburg researchers Walch JM, Rabin BS, Day R, Williams JN, Choi K, Kang JD

family pergola kit

Here is just a taste of what people said they enjoyed:

• Better Sleep
• Additional Free Time
• Interactions with Family was More Meaningful
• Less Stress
• Fewer Cravings
• Exercised More
• Spontaneous Fun
• Mind Felt Cleaner Able to Reflect Deeper
• More Creativity
• Overall Better Health
• Didn’t Document the Moment, Relished It

You might be wondering… Did anyone experience withdrawals?

You betcha! Going “cold turkey” was a struggle for some, feeling anxious, disconnected, isolated and like they were missing out on something.  Neuropsychologist experts prescribe, “If you are feeling those kinds of emotions, that is when you should disconnect.” It was eye-opening but it also was extremely empowering. We are social beings so several found fulfillment replacing it with face-to-face interactions.

Media fasts are catching on, and people are seeing how much they had been relying on media. After completing the fast, everyone felt it was easier to measure precious time and make better choices. Some agreed that media looked and felt a lot different. Others continue their media fast, each in their own way, for one it is intermittent fasting of every other day. Another uses a Self Control App that blocks all Social Media Sites for a set amount of time.

Having a distraction-free environment is huge. We all need regular time-outs, a place to relax and recharge our batteries.

playing baby timber post

Japanese officials spent 4 million dollars and 8 years on 498 people in the study of forest bathing – basically being in the presence of trees. They measured the cells in the immune system before and after being exposed to the woods. The cells responded rapidly to the virally-infected cells, tumor formations, and increased the immune health. The subjects also showed a significant reduction in hostility and depression with increased liveliness.

Study From 2004 to 2012

It is not new news, but it is good news.
Going outside can:

  • Reduce Anxiety
  • Reduce Brooding
  • Reduce Stress
  • Increase Attention Span
  • Increase Creativity
  • Increase our ability to connect with other people.
  • Improve Memory
  • Fight Depression
  • Restore Metal Energy
  • Strengthen the Immune System
  • Help Maintain a Healthier Weight
birthday pavilion
child-media-in-car

Social media is not the only hindrance, keeping us from reaping the golden health and mental benefits of outdoor relaxation and play. American children on average spend 21 hrs a day inside the house, and 1.5 hrs a day inside a vehicle. That is only 1.5 hrs a day outside!

The more time a child spends in the outdoors, the more likely they are to be physically active.

The Environmental Protection Agency reports the average adult in America is indoors 93% of their life.

Unlike our ancestors, it has become increasingly normal to be inside most of the time. It seems as though most people need a reason to go outdoors.

bored-man-watch-tv-remote
family beneath pergola

Create a reason to be outside more, every day!.

Couple barbecue food with winetimber frame gazebo couple

Outdoors in Nature …

• Builds Deeper Relationships
• Improves Short Term Memory
• Shifts Internal Clock to More Natural State
• Increases Altruism
• Increases Optimism
• Increases a Zest for Life
• Increases Confidence
• Enhances Beauty
• Increases Altruism

Couple marriage proposal by a fire pit

The Outdoors also …

• Improves Eyesight
• Increases Athletic Performance
• Decreases Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease
• Invigorates the Body
• Derive Better Sleep
• Optimizes Brain Performance
• Highers Life Expectancy

How much time did you spend outside today?

Doing a Media Fast should make use of it more purposeful. Like any advice, a Media Fast may not work for everyone. I can say though that spending more time in the outdoors will bless your life. The human system is attuned to nature. On the flip side of all the blessings from being outdoors, check out a few of the side effects of television viewing, or better yet, just step outside and enjoy a refreshing walk.

TV Viewing …

• Makes Men Feel Less in Love with Their Partners
• Makes Women Feel Less Deserving of Being Loved
• Makes Families Spend Less Time Together
• Increases Divorce Rate
• Increases Negative Moods
• Increases ‘Copycat’ Suicides
• Lowers Confidence
• Increases Desire for Cosmetic Surgical Procedures

“If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it?”

Edward Bernays, Propaganda (1928) Page 71

TV Viewing also …

• Reduces Athletic Performance
• Increased Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease
• Stresses the Body
• Causes Sleep Deprivation
• Has doubled the murder rate in western societies
• Stunts the Development of Children’s Brains
• Damages the Brains of both Children and Adults
• Decreases your lifespan – 22 minutes for each hour of TV watched

And yes, this includes even . . . The News

Scientifically Manipulating Reality

“Perhaps the most important of all the modern agents of propaganda is the cinema. Where the cinema is concerned, the technical reasons for large-scale organizations leading to almost world-wide uniformity are overwhelming. . . . The great majority of young people in almost all civilized countries derive their ideas of love, of honour, of the way to make money, and of the importance of good clothes, from the evenings spent in seeing what Hollywood thinks good of them.”…
“I doubt whether all the schools and churches combined have as much influence as the cinema upon the opinions of the young in regard to such intimate matters as love and marriage and money making. The producers of Hollywood are the high-priests of a new religion”

“The Scientific Outlook” published in 1931, page 158, by Bertrand Russell

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