Mental Health Awareness week 2021: Monday 10th May – Sunday 16th May.
Introducing nature into your life
The average person spends between 80-99% of their time indoors but top studies show that as little as 10-15 minutes in fresh air and nature can positively impact a person’s wellbeing considerably! There are many different kinds of nature that you can try to incorporate into
daily life maybe just a stroll through the park, a weekend hike or an afternoon exploring a forest?
In Japan they have formed a therapeutic practice called “Forest Bathing” that believe it or not has nothing to do with your swimming costume! The main aims of the practice are to be calm and quiet in a natural environment, slow down all thoughts and block out everything else going on around you. To focus on nothing but your natural surroundings such as flowers in bloom and any wildlife like birds in the sky or squirrels playing in the trees. The idea is that this practice can be done from your own garden or a green space for 10 or 15 minutes a day. Nature encourages us to take time away from tech devices like phones and computers and just relax our minds.
For people that do not live close to natural environments you could try adding some plants to your own garden or if you do not have a garden some potted plants to your home or growing your own food and herbs is a great hobby involving nature.
Nature has been proven to bring people happiness, confidence and relaxation so introducing it to your daily life can only be beneficial!
Mindfulness in nature exercise
Sit Outside and Listen
Listening meditations are type of meditation in which we focus on just one of our senses: hearing. We bring our attention to all of the sounds around us — the loud and the soft, the near and the far. While listening meditations can be done anywhere, nature is an excellent place to practice this type of mindfulness.
What to do:
· Find somewhere outdoors where you won’t be disturbed. This could be on a bench in the park, lying down in the grass, or sitting outside on your front steps.
· Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and then bring all of your attention towards what you can hear.
· Notice which sounds are most obvious to you, as well as those that are in the background. Notice how some sounds come and go, while others are constant. Notice how some get louder and softer. Identify these sounds. Your goal is to become curious about what you are hearing and to absorb the sounds around you in a way that you don’t normally in day-to-day life.
· When your mind wanders, notice that you’ve become distracted and then gently return your attention to listening.
· Continue listening in this way for at five minutes.
“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks” – John Muir.