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…
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