If you’re struggling with your mindfulness practice or just trying to expand it, getting out into nature might be just what you need. Spending time in nature has many benefits which translate well into helping improve your mindfulness.
Getting out into nature automatically lowers your stress levels and makes it easier for you to disconnect from the pressures you face in your day-to-day life. Heart rate, heart variability, blood sugar, and blood pressure all tend to normalize when you spend time outside in nature.
Another benefit of connecting with nature is improved mood. It lowers all depression and anxiety markers and makes people happier. Those who spend more time in nature report feeling more connected to both nature and the world around them. This results in improved kindness and generosity.
The ability to focus on everything goes up when you spend time in nature. Creativity improves as well. Most people say that connecting with nature makes them feel more alive.
All of these together can help you improve your focus and concentration enough to let you be more mindful. Take your mindfulness practice outside and it might help you improve it. Nature is a great place to be mindful!
So, how do you go about getting these benefits? Do you need to become an avid hiker, start primitive camping every summer, or take a vacation and go whitewater rafting through the backcountry?
No. You don’t need to do any of that, though it would certainly help you connect with nature! And if you want to do that sort of thing, go right ahead. It has numerous benefits. But it’s not necessary to go to such extremes to get the benefits of being out in Mother Nature.
It’s simple. Start by taking a walk. Go outside and walk for 10-15 minutes. Try to do this several times a week and try to do it in a park or other conserved area rather than in the standard urban landscape. I try and practice this every morning. It is not only good for my mind but also my body (especially your bones if you are like me and osteopenia)
Walking this way -sans phones and other electronic devices -is all you need to get the benefits of being in nature. You can also simply take your mindfulness meditation practice outside. Try doing it in your backyard or at a park. If you combine the two practices, you’ll spend all the time you need in nature to be more mindful.
The benefits of this practice are extraordinary, and it only costs a few minutes of your time every week, so why not start today?