How to be mindful in nature

In our new series – the A to Z of mindfulness – we look at the various ways that nature and the countryside can be used to help improve physical and mental wellbeing. This January, we will be exploring the benefits of awareness  

 

1st January 2018
Awareness in nature

Most of us enjoy being out and about in the countryside but, in the drama of our everyday lives, we often find it difficult to switch off, the humdrum of our inner monologue ever present.

A is for Awareness 

One of the most important facets of mindfulness is awareness, defined as a knowledge of something at the present time. And one of the easiest ways to be present is to focus on the small things, those very special notes of nature that are all around us, all the time.

Awareness
A is for Awareness ©Lynn Hatzius
Focusing on the small

When you’re next outside, find a quiet spot and focus on something close to you; a blackbird foraging among decaying beech leaves, a dew-spangled spider web, or the furrowed trunk of an old, gnarled oak tree.

Spider webs
Watch a spider build its web ©Getty

Rest your hand on the bark and feel its rough surface. Look closely at each groove. Put your ear to the trunk and listen as it creaks. Smell it. Then gaze into its eaves and watch the shifting shapes and colours sway though its boughs. 

With any luck, you’ll stir some time later and realise that, for those blissful moments, you were aware.

Focus on the intricacies of the oak's trunk
Noticing the intricacies of the oak's trunk can help to emit the humdrum of our everyday lives ©Getty

To learn more about the benefits of spending time in forests, read our article: why everyone can benefit from heading into the woods

 

Main image ©Getty

 

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