Why mindfulness outside:
Nature is a wonderful healer, research studies show again and again that even brief time spent in nature can activate our parasympathetic nervous system, lowering cortisol – a good sign that we are bringing our minds and bodies to a state of rest and calm.
Doing this regularly has been shown to have wide ranging health benefits, including lowered stress, improved immunity and inflammation levels, better heart health and mood management, to name just a few.
However, as I am keen to create inclusive environments, I will also add that limited ideas of what ‘being well’ looks like, a ‘one size fits all’ or claims to ‘fix’ anyone are not part of what I do. We can however hope to find moments of presence, maybe of calm and respite.
Mindfulness in nature allows us to do two things:
One – We get to use the sights, sounds, smells and textures of our surroundings to focus our minds in the here and now with greater ease. Over time this can develop our capacity to be less reactive and more able to find calm in the storms that exist both in our minds, bodies and day to day lives.
Two – We begin to develop a deeper connection to nature and the world we live in. Feelings of disconnection are common, modern life, social media, lockdowns, eating supermarket food that we don’t know the source of, busy work and family lives; these things can leave us feeling adrift, isolated and at times hopeless and alone.
Reconnecting to the world we are very much a part of, can aid in not only alleviating these painful states of being, but actually help us move into deeper states of well-being, connectedness, and joy.
I will say here that re-connecting to nature can also bring us in touch with feelings of grief, anger or fear around the climate crisis. This can be really tough to face. However, when find ways to feel these feelings, without being overwhelmed by them, we can begin to become more aware and active in our day to day lives; becoming kinder and more thoughtful of our natural world and how we use its resources.
What does nature based mindfulness involve?
We will simply take a walk in local nature. Perhaps places you’ve been before.
However, we walk slowly, letting go of any need for speed or rushing past without noticing, this isn’t exercise. I will encourage you to encounter nature mindfully and with time given to the details of your experience. I will offer guidance and offer some simple tools and activities, that can aid you in developing your relationship with yourself, nature and your place within it.
Like all mindfulness practices we aim to develop our capacity to notice, not react, to be warm and kind towards ourselves as we meet our bodies, feelings and thoughts in this natural space.
Developing a greater sense of connection to nature can allow us to feel a deeper sense of belonging, of feeling we have a place in the world, it can also encourage us to be more mindful of the resources we use and the impact we have on our planet.
How is my work a little different?
My years working as a psychotherapist informs my nature based mindfulness sessions. I am trauma and mental health aware and sensitive. My work is also informed by neuroscience research, allowing me to offer tools and ideas that are responsive to your feeling state, your needs and your capacity for mindfulness meditation. These are non prescriptive sessions built for you. In groups many different options will be given for practice.
I am very keen to provide accessible and inclusive spaces. I offer an open and clear communication style and many alternative practices. My work is trauma and mental health sensitive and I am welcoming to those who identify as neurodivergent.
Where do outdoor sessions take place?
Please enquire for exact locations where we can walk.
Nature based mindfulness courses can be accessed in your staff’s/your own time. This is done via video, audio and written online learning. Please enquire.
What do you need to bring or do?
Very little, but you will need appropriate clothes, especially in cooler weather, we can can get very cold when we move slowly. You can bring some tissues and perhaps water if you’d like to. As well as something to take litter away in, so we do something for nature when we have just taken so much goodness.
See FAQs for other info
For those of you interested in the research behind mindfulness and time spent mindfully in nature see here