We all have our happy places.
The places where we feel more relaxed, more joyful, more peaceful.
They are often quiet, away from the busyness of our routines and schedules, disconnected from the distracting buzz of technology.
And for many of us, they are somewhere where we can feel the calming influence of nature around us.
It may be a walk in a park, sitting on a beach, swimming in the ocean or as simple as watching the clouds pass above us. Whatever your thing, giving yourself the gift of some time in nature each day helps to create a few more drops of peace inside us, that flow into our relationships, our work and our lives.
Clever scientists are just working out what children the world over have always known.
Time in nature makes you happier.
Just a few minutes sitting in nature begins to drop the cortisol (stress hormone), and if you add walking, running, surfing, cycling, skipping, or whatever is your thing, you’ll smile even more as your nervous system begins to relax.
Some of the Benefits of Time in Nature
The trick to unlocking the good stuff is to weave your time in nature into your daily rhythms and schedules. Regular time in nature helps:
Reduce cortisol levels and related stress
Enhances your mood and levels of positivity
Increased energy levels and improved sleep
Create a positive impact on blood pressure and adiponectin, a protein that helps regulate blood sugar levels
Try it Out.
To begin to unlock the benefits of time in nature, simply add the below into your daily routine for the next 14 days and take time to note how you feel.
Remember, like all Presence Practices, the longer we stay committed to prioritising our mental, physical and emotional health, the greater the benefits are.
1. Select 3 time slots in the day and put it in your calendar
Here are a few ideas, from some of my clients, of what you can name these time slots. 'Growing Presence', 'Clarity Training', 'De-stress Exercise', 'Feeding my Life,' 'Re-energising Time'. The naming of the practice helps with focussing your intent, prioritising it and building the foundations for positive outcomes.
2. Leave your phone, wearable tech and anything that will distract you at home or at the office
The level of results and benefits you will un-lock through these practices is directly related to your ability to switch-off from the daily distractions of work, family, social media etc. Being on your phone while practicing presence is a little like eating a Big Mac while running on the treadmill.
If you are worried of what might happen in the 10 minutes you are giving back to yourself, try not to. The world won't change in this time, but over time you will. You will have more energy and more clarity to create the life that your dream of living and to be the 'change that you want to see in the world.' (as the great Mahatma said).
3. Choose your Nature
Go to that place that helps you unwind. For me any small patch of nature works. If I am at home, I head to the rocks and sit and listen to the sound of the ocean and watch the light as it sprinkles its magic across the waves. If I am at work in the city, I walk to a nearby park, or if I only have a couple of minutes I head to a quiet street and just look up at the sky and passing clouds, slow my breathing and just give my mind a few moments of rest.
And that my friend is all you have to do. It is that simple. I have added a few tips on how you can supercharge your time in nature, but let's get into some of the benefits first, for those of you who lean more towards goal-orientation vs. presence-orientation.
Ancient Wisdom meets Modern Science
Of course none of this is new. Shinrin-yoku or forest bathing has been a part of Japanese culture for decades, over two thousand years ago the Persians re-greened their cities to improve human health and well-fare and for over forty thousand years, the world's oldest living culture have been living in deep connection with nature.
I was so grateful to catch up with Dharug cultural man, educator and great friend Stuart McMinn on country. I hope you enjoy this short video and opportunity to learn from the ancient wisdom Stuart shares.
I would love to hear how time in nature helps you, or any practices that you have developed to help you balance and improve your mental and emotional wellbeing. Please feel free to drop me a message through the contact form at the bottom of each page on the website and I'll be in touch.