10 mindful ways to connect with nature

The Mindfulness Project is an innovative platform making mindfulness accessible to as many people as possible. Let these ten exercises taken from Into Nature inspire you to better connect with yourself and the natural world around you. 

Whether you live in the city or the countryside, we are surrounded by nature – all it takes is a moment to look up at the sky, tune our listening into the sounds around us, or embrace the feel of the weather on our skin.

Mindfulness is about paying attention to our internal and external world with a kind and non-judgmental awareness. Mindfulness exercises can help us deepen our relationship to the nature that surrounds us by allowing ourselves to simply be, and connect with the sense of wonder our environment evokes. It can be practised for the enrichment of your health and wellbeing – and reminds us that we too belong to nature.

1. Hello wild thing

The human body is one of the most amazing works of nature around. Tune into your breath, focus on the sensation of your hands in your lap, feel your feet as they carry you with each step, close your eyes and notice the little coloured shapes that sprinkle up behind your closed eyelids – tune into your own aliveness.

2. Thank you notes to nature

Nature offers so much to be grateful for. Whether it’s the beautiful tree outside your window or the sheep that gave its wool for a favourite jumper – each time you sense a feeling of gratitude write it down in a note to nature.

3. Garden of friends

Choose a few friends you really care about. Dedicate a plant or potted flower to each one. It can be a plant you already have, or you can buy one, or grow one from a seed. Learn about what each plan needs to thrive and tend to them as you would a friendship.

Selection of potted plants on a table

4. Into the woods

Make your way to a forest. Find a place to sit for a while. Make a square metre yours and stay for one… maybe two… sometimes three hours. There is nothing to do. Just be. No need to meditate. Just be curious. Notice nature. Observe your inner world. Be with the whole of your experience. Stay warm, stay hydrated, and stay awake. Surf the urges to leave (unless you’re in real trouble).

5. Passing clouds

Look up at the sky and notice the clouds. Are they moving fast or floating by slowly? Pick a cloud that speaks to you and keep your gaze fixed on it. Breathe as you stay connected with that cloud and follow it across the sky. Does it change form; does it speed up or slow down?

6. Wonder-full windows

Connect with nature right outside your window, whether at home or on the go. Look at the scenes that you can observe from afar, maybe as a passenger in a car, or from a plane or a train. Look at the sunlight and the shadows, the textures and the colours, trees blowing in the wind, clouds sailing by, animals resting in the fields. Take in all the wonders from right where you are.

7. Flower gazing

Sit with a flower. Either at home or somewhere outside. Look into the flower’s perfectly symmetrical face. Study this little wonder of nature. Really seeing it, maybe smelling it. Give this little flower your full attention. 

Hand holding a leave up to the sky in a forest

8. Footnotes

There are so many different surfaces to be found in nature: grass, rock, leaves, earth, and…water! Take off your shoes and mindfully walk – slowing down your pace. How does it feel to have grass bend beneath your steps? Have mud between your toes? Bury your feet in the sand? Crunch over dried leaves? Submerge your feet in a stream or ocean waves?

9. Play your part

The more we get to know nature, the clearer it becomes that everything is interconnected. Our planet hangs in a delicate balance and small changes to our lifestyles can have cascading effects elsewhere in the supply/food chain. Whether it’s using less plastic, having an energy efficient home, keeping the local park tidy – get informed, find a cause and do your part.

10. Biblio therapy, nature edition

It is easy to forget that poets, explorers, authors and philosophers have been writing about nature connection for ages. Stock your shelves with a few of these inspiring reads.

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