Mindfulness Activity #20
There is a strong body of research that indicates the value of being outside in nature. Studies have shown that individuals who spend regular time outside experience benefits such as lower blood pressure and lower stress hormone levels. Using our senses to connect to nature has been demonstrated to reduced nervous system arousal (this means to calm our bodies) and also to enhance our immune system. Being close to green grass, birds, trees or water has also been demonstrated to reduce anxiety and to improve mood and provide a sense of well-being. One study on individuals who were hospitalized showed that regular contact with nature reduced feelings of isolation and lifted mood.
So, today’s practice involves nature. If you would like a brief way to do this as a start to your day, Sit and listen to this clip 3 minute of nature.
Breathe in and out as you pay attention to the sounds you would hear in nature. Interestingly, while actually being outside is great, our body responds the same way to tapes of nature sights and sounds.
Then, the task, if possible, is to actually get outside later in the day, and each day this week, to walk or run or just to sit. Make it your intention to connect to nature using your senses and your breath. Walk and notice the feel of your feet walking or striking the earth (if you are running), look around, breathe deeply and pay attention to the sounds around you.