Lenny is our Wellbeing Advice and Information Officer. She is also a Teach Mindfulness Graduate and has a Guided Meditation Diploma. You can join her online mindfulness meditations via Zoom on Wednesdays at 2.15pm-3pm.
“During these times of social distancing, one of the ways that we can support our self-care and emotional wellbeing is to get in touch with nature. To do this, we don’t even have to have our own garden because when we go out for our daily exercise, be it by ourselves, accompanied by the dog or those whom we are self-isolating with, it can be a soothing and relaxing experience.
Whilst you’re out, take an opportunity to have a good look around you and take in the trees, plants and animals you see. Notice the sounds such as a birdsong, which can be particularly beautiful at dawn, but is something that is always available – as is the beauty around us when we take time to pause, reflect and savour the beauty, colour and shape of our surroundings.
We can equally achieve this in our own garden by recreating and connecting further with the feeling of nature by taking a photograph, painting or sketching something we found special or simply by working in our garden and connecting with the earth and nature.
There is a Japanese custom called Shrinrin-yoku which means “bathing in the forest”. It is the simple act of being around trees and connecting with nature. The idea is to be out in nature either in a park, forest or place where there are trees and to engage with all your senses – sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell. Touch the bark of the trees, feel the waxy leaves, pause, reflect and absorb the quiet calming effect of being around trees. Being at one with nature, surrounded by a naturally beautiful, soothing atmosphere promotes positivity, happiness and wellbeing.
This is a short meditation, which you could do, after a daily walk or just with the vision of an imagined beautiful connection with nature.
Find a comfortable position, sitting or lying down. Begin with a few deep breaths, breathing deep into the belly, to help you relax and to bring you to the sensations of the present moment or a beautiful memory of nature. Now close your eyes and be present to what is being experienced with your eyes closed. Notice how your body feels, as well as the activity of your mind and emotions. Experience whatever is present without resisting anything or trying to change it. Do this for about a minute.
Now bring your awareness to everything that you can experience in your surroundings. Feel the temperature of the air on your skin, the feeling of the breeze and the sun. Notice the sounds around you – birds, bees, general sounds, flowing water, the breeze. Listen to the symphony of nature. For the rest of the meditation, continue to experience these feelings and sounds. Whenever your mind wanders let it be to thoughts of how well, relaxed and positive you feel and how you feel connected to nature.
As you meditate, you can see where your attention is naturally drawn or just concentrate what makes you feel positive or energised, and experience that to the full. If it is a bird’s song, notice the quality of the sound as if you are going more deeply into the sound. If it is the colour of a beautiful flower or scenic picture you have as a memory, stay with that memory or picture. Simply notice the quality of it and notice how good it makes you feel, and how calming and relaxing it is.
Continue to do this for a few minutes, savour the experience and notice how relaxed and energised it makes you feel.
These are just a few ways in which you can connect with nature and boost your positivity and wellbeing in these difficult times. We hope you can enjoy them!”
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