Humans have a special relationship with nature. Do you ever struggle to remember what it was like to go on a hike, enjoy listening to the ocean, or taking in the beauty of a sunset? It’s common for the everyday routine to feel overwhelming and draining of our energy, leaving us feeling depleted. There’s a part of us that is one with nature, as it is one of our oldest friends and healers. Taking the time to seek solace in nature, has several mental health benefits, including changes in neurotransmitter levels, breathing fresh air, and connection to something grander. Here are two ways to engage in mindfulness, which has also been proven to be beneficial, and nature into your self-care practice.
Hiking and Nature Walks
Hiking is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in nature. If you don’t live near a national park, try out your nearest nature reserve or park! There’s something about being outdoors and surrounded by trees, leaves, and invigorating fresh air. A way to boost your hiking and nature walk experience is to incorporate a walking meditation. A great meditation practice to try on a hike is the 5-4-3-2-1 method meditation that involves all 5 senses. When you’re deep enough into a forest, the woods, or at a more scenic part of a park, engage in the 5-4-3-2-1 method meditation by asking yourself questions about your surroundings.
- What are 5 things that I see? Take notice of the small details of your surroundings. Is there a leaf with a striking pattern? Is there a bug crawling on a tree trunk?
- What are 4 things that I feel? Notice the small sensations. Does the wind feel cold or warm? Can you feel the ground supporting you?
- What are 3 things that I hear? Take the time to notice even the smallest of sounds, such as the leaves crumbling moving under your feet or the birds chirping their songs. Are you by a body of water and can hear the waves?
- What are 2 things that I can smell? Do the leaves have a smell? Does it smell of fresh rain?
- What is 1 thing that I can taste? Can you taste the freshness of the air? Or if at the beach, can you taste the salt from the sea?
Do you remember a time when you ran around the yard without shoes on? Nowadays we call that earthing! You were earthing before you even knew what it was! Earthing is the practice of taking your shoes off and placing your feet on the ground. Whether it be grass, dirt, or sand, it’s up to you! Earthing is beneficial in various ways. We can regain our connection to the earth and nature, as well as allowing our body to interact with the earth’s magnetic field. Rubber is used in all types of industries to cancel electrical currents. Our bodies have an innate interaction with the earth’s magnetic field, that our rubber shoe soles cancel out. Next time you’re in your yard, at the beach, a lake, or the park, take the opportunity to intentionally practice earthing and incorporate a mindfulness practice into it.
You can ask yourself: How does the ground feel on my feet? What sensations do I feel from the ground? In what ways has the earth been supporting me, that I have not noticed until now? What negative thoughts or energy can let the ground absorb for me? And last but not least, allow the grounding support of the Earth to be felt within you and replenish your mind. Incorporate this practice into your routine, a few times a week, and feel the difference!
There are many benefits to connecting with nature when it comes to mental health. If you are struggling with anxiety or feeling as though you cannot break from your daily routine, give Tx Harmony Counseling a call or contact us here.