Monthly Archives: October 2016

  • Mindful Nature Connection

    Mindfulness & Nature Connection

    Just as formal mindfulness meditation practice allows us to tend to ourselves and sooth our systems in a nourishing way, connecting with nature can have an equally therapeutic effect - especially given our busy and digitally loaded lifestyles. Putting our phones aside and spending some time in nature can leave us feeling calmed, refreshed and happier. If we can sit in the grass and watch a tree for a couple of minutes, notice the light shine through its fluttering leaves, we can pause and – connect with something bigger.

    The benefits of connecting with the natural world in this way are also supported by research. Simply being in nature has been shown to bring about positive emotions, and activate our parasympathetic nervous system, which calms and restores us. Studies have also shown that spending time in nature aids in attention recovery, is emotionally restorative, and promotes general psychological well-being. Mindfulness only enhances our ability to connect with nature and thus reinforces these benefits.

    You will find that there are some unique qualities to connecting with nature mindfully -- here are the key points to consider:

    1. Permission: give yourself permission to take time out, disconnected from your devices, to spend time in and be with nature.

    2. Intention: during your dedicated time outdoors, set the intention to connect and be present with the nature around you, as well as your internal experience. Be the observer or the field researcher of your environment.

    3. Attention: rest your attention on the sensory experiences of nature - the smells, sights, sensations. And when the mind wanders, as it will, bring your attention gently back to whatever you have placed your attention on.

    4. Attitudes: bring the qualities of mindfulness such as curiosity, allowing, and non-judgemental awareness to your time in nature -- this can enrich your experience with profound and insightful moments.

    The reason mindfulness and nature are such complements to each other is because in mindfulness we rest our attention on sensory experiences such as the breath or sounds, and nature offers so much inspiration for the senses. Feeling the sunshine on your cheeks on a crisp morning, or taking in the smell of fresh rain on the soil, or sitting down in a meadow and watching the wind blow through tall grass… these are the kind of moments where we can practice coming back to our senses to access the restorative benefits of both mindfulness and nature connection.

    Beyond just imagining it, we would encourage you, next time you feel the need for a real break, to leave your phone behind and make your way to nature.

    .....

    MEDITATION:

    Body Scan

    RETREATS:

    3-Day Mindfulness and Nature Connection Retreat