Do you ever feel like life is rushing past you? Or are you so distracted by a million different things competing for your attention that you miss what’s happening around you?
When was the last time you gifted yourself a few minutes just to enjoy nature? The warm, nurturing glow of the sun as it slowly sets beyond the horizon, or the sound of the wind blowing outside the window, rain drops on your skin, or the stars at night. We are surrounded by elegant, graceful, calming beauty.
According to science, spending time in nature is good for the soul; it benefits our entire well-being. Walking through nature and being mindful of the green grass, trees, and flowers has been associated with helping with mental health issues such as depression, ADHD and has been shown to lower blood pressure.
We all have “those” days when we feel overwhelmed, and stress seems to be winning. Research says that one of the best gifts we can give ourselves on those days, or any day, really, is a few amazing minutes outside. The sun restricts the release of stress homes and encourages the release of feel-good hormones like serotonin. And the negative ions in the fresh air have a calming effect on the nervous system.
Time spent in nature is never wasted; it’s one of the healthiest things you can do for your mental and emotional health. It reduces stress, relieves tension, and helps restore your energy, increasing productivity.
Here are some tips for intentionally bringing nature into your life.
1. Match nature’s pace.
Nature is calm. It takes its time. So should you. Walk slowly through nature; breathe deeply; you’ll feel more peaceful and more relaxed immediately.
Slow down to observe your surroundings; take it all in. It might be a yellow flower growing through a crack in the concrete, a cloud floating overhead, or the fragrance of cherry blossoms. Savor it.
Nature is a kind of dance. Sink into its rhythm.
2. Take off your shoes and socks, and breathe
Search all you want, but you’ll never find a squirrel sprinting by you in a pair of sneakers.
Consider taking off your shoes to feel the earth beneath your feet. Feel grounded and connected to something bigger than your life.
Explore your surroundings for a peaceful spot where you can regularly go for your soul to breathe.
Go there. Maybe it’s a park, garden, or someplace in the forest, or the beach. Close your eyes and breathe deeply for a minute or two while being mindful of the sun on your face and the warm ground against your body.
3. Eat outside
Why eat inside under artificial lighting when you can take a blanket and a book and enjoy a picnic outside? It doesn’t have to be anything fancy.
4. Lean against a tree
We climbed trees, hung from branches, and leaned against their trunks when we were kids. Trees are amazing. The oldest ones have been alive for thousands of years. We rely on trees to supply our environment with fresh, pure oxygen.
Why not connect with your inner child and act like a kid again. Lean against a tree with a book or a video on your phone and enjoy a few minutes of “me” time. Or, if you prefer, take a friend with you and visit for a while.
5. Visit a greenhouse
Visit a nearby greenhouse that has some of your favorite plants. Walk-in and savor the aroma of the lush vegetation. Consider buying a plant and bringing it home to enjoy.
Slow down and use all of your senses to enjoy nature. We were all born with an expiration date. So take time to savor life along the way.