Take a moment and look out your closest window. Nature is a marvel. The array of life we see and experience daily is astounding. From a myriad of creatures to the vibrancy of colors, Earth is the very definition of the word awesome.
Increasing involvement with nature allows one to become more mindful. One can be taught to immerse themselves rather than focus on attaining material goods. Getting outside makes us feel small, yet wonderous. Things that previously made you feel anxious or upset seem to disappear when you are trying to catch snowflakes on your tongue.
Understanding Nature Therapy
Also called “ecotherapy,” this broad family of therapies and activities purposely seek to bolster our mental and physical health or well-being by connecting with nature. Some professionals may be trained psychotherapists who conduct “walk and talk” outdoor therapy sessions. Others can focus on teaching patients how to create works of art inspired by nature. At times, ecotherapists facilitate gardening clubs or other innovative approaches.
Below we have included three easy exercises that you may find strengthens your bond with nature:
- Embrace novel experiences
Mix up your exercise practices and explore a new walking trail. Notice what you see, hear, and smell during your walk. Are you sensing something new? What other new experiences are you enjoying during this outing?
- Senses matter!
Go outside to space where you feel comfortable and safe. Close your eyes, and notice how your senses begin to heighten. What is the further sound you hear? What is the subtlest smell hitting your nose? How does the air feel against your skin? Open your eyes after a few minutes and take in the color and sights all around you. How does it feel?
- Notice the power of nature
Whether you enjoy a storm out or your window or how nature reclaims abandoned lots or buildings, nature is truly powerful. During an urban walk pay attention to how weeds sprout up from pavement, or how a tree can grow after a seed falls through a crack in a rock. What do you notice when you look out a window or take a walk? How do you feel while you are noticing nature’s power?
Nature is always entwined with us. We hope these exercises can strengthen your bond with the great outdoors. If nothing else, we hope it encourages you to open up your windows a bit more, or better yet, go outside! Whatever you choose, ensure you to pay attention to how nature teaches and nourishes us.