Why is Nature Good for us

Nature helps you focus, improves pain management and mental health. The stress of an unpleasant environment can cause you to feel anxious, sad, or helpless. This in turn elevates your blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension and suppresses your immune system. A natural environment reverses all of that.

Time in nature or viewing nature scenes increases our ability to pay attention – our ability to be more mindful.

Nature helps you focus

Because humans find nature inherently interesting, we can naturally focus on what we are experiencing out in nature. This also provides a respite for our overactive minds, refreshing us for new tasks.

There are a growing number of studies and campaigns putting forward evidence that a connection with nature makes us healthier and happier people.

For example, children exposed to the natural world showed increases in self-esteem. In some cases, nature can significantly improve the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It provides a calming influence and helps them concentrate.

Nature helps pain management

For people suffering from physical illness it’s been found that nature helps us cope with pain. Because we are genetically programmed to find trees, plants, water, and other nature elements engrossing, we are absorbed by nature scenes and distracted from our pain and discomfort.

Nature improves mental health

For those suffering with mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, interacting with nature can help people control their symptoms or even recover, alongside conventional medication.

It’s also been found that exposure to greenspaces reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure.

If you are interested in finding out more about how nature can help you, please check out my book “The Nature Remedy” or join one of my Forest Bathing walks.

Jo Durrant’s Beautiful Universe Podcast

Jo Durrant celebrates arts & science as part of our culture in her podcast, with great guests, stories and myth busting.

Featuring Faith Douglas who talks about our relationship with nature, her book, forest bathing, grounding, seasons & even the benefits of moss!
Or via Apple:
Also on Amazon, Spotify and Google.

What is Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the quality of being present and fully engaged with whatever we’re doing at that moment — free from distraction or judgment, and aware of our thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in them.

That might seem easy, except for the annoying fact that we so often veer from the matter at hand. Our mind takes flight, we lose touch with our body, and pretty soon we’re engrossed in obsessive thoughts about something that just happened or fretting about the future. And that makes us anxious.

Mindfulness is about observation without criticism; being compassionate with yourself. When unhappiness or stress hover overhead, rather than taking it all personally, you learn to treat them as clouds, and to observe them with friendly curiosity as they drift on past. In essence, mindfulness allows you to catch negative thought patterns before they tip you into a downward spiral. It begins the process of putting you back in control of your life.

Over time, mindfulness brings about long-term changes in mood, levels of happiness and wellbeing.

People that incorporate it into their lives also report higher levels of patience and compassion as well as lower levels of stress, frustration and sadness.

Scientific studies have shown that mindfulness not only prevents depression, but that it also positively affects the brain patterns, underlying day-to-day anxiety, stress, depression and irritability so that when they arise, they dissolve away again more easily. Other studies have shown that regular meditators see their doctors less often and spend fewer days in hospital. Memory improves, creativity increases and reaction times become faster.

 

Mindfulness in Nature

The stress of an unpleasant environment or situation can cause you to feel anxious, sad, or helpless. This in turn elevates your blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension and suppresses your immune system. A natural environment reverses all of that. Time in nature increases our ability to pay attention – our ability to be more mindful.

Over time, mindfulness brings about long-term changes in mood, levels of happiness and wellbeing and there are a growing number of studies and campaigns putting forward evidence that a connection with nature makes us healthier and happier people. Merging the two together is where magic happens…

Just breathe

Bring your attention to your breathing. Where do you feel the air coming in and out of your body? Rest your awareness there. Is your mind wandering? Just kindly bring it back to your breathing. Remind yourself that trees release the oxygen we inhale and absorb the carbon dioxide we exhale. As we breathe, we are borrowing air before returning it to nature.

Touch the earth

Stand, sit or lie in your garden, in a forest, in the park, by the sea or up a mountain. Bring your awareness to the parts of your body which are in contact with the ground. What do they feel like? Can you feel the ground supporting you? How does it make you feel?

Tune in to birdsong

Find a quiet spot and close your eyes. Listen to the sounds of the birds. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your hearing. Are the songs high or low pitched? How many different notes can you hear? Is it the same song repeated? Which is your favourite? How do they make you feel?

Find your ‘nature sit spot’

Find a quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed for 20-30 minutes. Remain still. What can you see in front of you? What can you see in your peripheral vision? What can you hear? What can you feel on your skin? What can you smell? Bring your awareness to each of your senses in turn. What do you notice over 20-30 minutes? How did things change? Come back and repeat the exercise at different times, on different days, at different times of year. Did you notice any changes? Any regular animals visiting?

To learn more contact Faith at Forest Bathing UK

forestbathinguk@gmail.com

Download this meditation as a PDF by clicking here.

 

 

Why You Need to Reconnect with Nature – Podcast

Faith Douglas on SECOND MIND

In the podcast, Faith tells her story of how she found her connection to nature through her own personal challenges and started to work with forest bathing. She shares her tips on how to generate a connection with nature, using your senses to relax your mind and body. We cover many of the amazing scientifically-proven benefits of nature connection for mental and physical health and talk about the power of digital detoxing.

Listen to the full podcast here

https://secondmind.podbean.com/e/why-you-need-to-reconnect-with-nature-faith-douglas-on-second-mind/

 

Into the woods

Into the woods: The Japanese way to beat stress

BBC 14 November 2017

The Japanese art of Shinrin-Yoku, walking mindfully through woodland, is growing in popularity in the UK. Scientists say it reduces stress and blood pressure and boosts the immune system.

Faith Douglas leads forest baths in North Yorkshire.

“Because we’re British, we’re quite awkward,” she says. “To begin with the feelings are quite mixed. But once people get into it, the feedback is absolutely brilliant.”

www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/health-41988626/into-the-woods-the-japanese-way-to-beat-stressInto the woods