Spend time close to nature…

Tiny alpine flowers, with raindrops on their petals, next to a rock covered in lichen

…for a happier, healthier, more creative life

Scientific research has shown that being close to nature can benefit our brains as well as our bodies. Jill Suttie, writing on mindful.org, lists five ways in which nature can have a positive effect on us, each of them backed up by science.

Jill says that being close to nature can help you:

  1. Decrease stress and reduce brooding.
  2. Increase your sense of well-being.
  3. Relieve attention-fatigue and increase creativity.
  4. Be kinder and more generous.
  5. Feel more alive and vital.

The even better news is that you don’t have to be surrounded by forests or mountains to benefit from being close to nature. Research shows that even simple things like sunlight, houseplants or pictures of natural scenes in your room can help you recover from stress and maintain your mental health.

So, if nature can be so good for you, how much more benefit could you get from being mindful of nature and experiencing it fully? Try one or more of these exercises and find out for yourself.

Take a mindful stroll…

…around your garden or a green space near your home. Use as many senses as you can to really notice what’s there:

  • What can you hear—the wind in the trees or birds singing?
  • Look at the colours of the plants and notice areas of light and shade around you.
  • Perhaps crush some aromatic leaves in your fingers and breathe in the scent.

Make a note of the different things you notice every day for a week.

Pay attention to the nature close to you

Strengthen the positive feelings you get from nature by taking time to focus your attention on them. Follow the instructions in this practical and enjoyable exercise from Greater Good in Action.

You don’t have to spend extra time outdoors to do this exercise; simply take five or ten minutes a day to notice the nature that’s already in your life. That could be a scenic view from your window, a park you walk through on the way to work or a vase of flowers on your windowsill.

Go for a walk without your mobile phone

As Jill Suttie notes, the technology most of us use day-in and day-out constantly demands our attention. This information bombardment can result in mental fatigue—something many of us are all too aware of.

Many researchers believe that being in nature can restore your power of concentration, your creativity and your problem-solving skills. So, try a daily walk (even if it’s only for ten minutes) without your mobile phone and see if you can be more aware of your surroundings as you do so.

Find out more about the benefits of nature…

…read Jill Suttie’s full article.

Related mindfulness tips…

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