Project Nature- Simple Ways To Integrate Mindfulness Through Nature

‘Nature awakens deadened senses, it has the power to bring you to life again’

– Joan Borysenko

Eyes closed, I take a large inhalation, holding at the top of my breath before a full exhalation through an open mouth to clear my lungs, clear my mind. I repeat a few times until my heart rate has calmed, my thoughts slowed and I anchor in to where I sit, flutter my eyes open and proceed to clear the desk.

It’s the reset I need, more often than not at the moment. Of late, I have been working indoors and I feel the screen time is really starting to affect me. I find myself staring out the windows on the wild weather days, wishing I were in the elements, among it all, experiencing it all. To some, I am sure I sound crazy but some of the most testing conditions are where you find out what you are really made of. The cold wind that blushes our cheeks, heads adorned with beanie, warm jacket shielding from icy winds. The trails are evidently quiet on these days, but to be honest I’d much rather hike in the cold than the heat!

Nature is both beauty and beast. She is unrelenting, unforgiving yet provides so much nurturing beyond what science can tell us, so much opportunity for growth if we take the time to explore her.

When I push my boundaries of comfort and ease and explore the wilderness with only what I can carry, I have the most expansive feeling of contentment. Worries dissolve; the rational mind focuses on the river crossing, the elevation of the climb or the next meal. It’s cathartic, empowering and strips back the overload, overwhelm and over consumption of societies modern life.

I often feel my path is not the ‘norm’. I’m okay with that as the path of Nature never disappoints. As children, we lived in wonderment of her beauty, finding miracles and fascination at every turn. Sadly, as we ‘grow up’, we lose our ability to see beauty everywhere; we forget to look for the miracles and lose connection with the magic that nature affords.

When we connected to nature, we have a greater sense of well-being. When we disconnect, we suffer greater illness and disease.

Children have a great connection with Nature. Their sense of wonder and magic in everything they encounter. This connect nurtures a sense of well-being and as we age, we lose this sense of wonderment. It’s time to reclaim it!

Whilst the benefits of a few hours immersed in Nature have been documented to last for up to 2 weeks, exploring Nature therapy doesn’t have to be time consuming. If you can’t escape for a wander in the woods (just yet) and want to experience the benefits of Nature, some simple exercises can be done in the garden, down by the beach or nearby park will provide benefits to body and mind.

Take your break outdoors.

This one is no brainer. Spending your lunch break walking through a park invites a sensory experience, an array of sensation and interplay of body sensations and the environment. Find a quiet spot and take a look around; what can you see? Notice the different trees and the shapes of their leaves. Pick one up, feel it. Is it smooth or rough? Notice the shape, the edges of the leaf. Can you identify what kind of tree it is?

A micro break outdoors, mindfully present in our s