Five Simple Practices for Finding Rejuvenation in Nature

How can I de-stress? How can I relax more and get more energy? What can I do to feel more connected with the world of nature?

These are common questions today in an increasingly stressed-out digital era. As a deep nature connection mentor, I've had the opportunity to help coach and mentor clients around the world in finding their highest creativity and well-being through connecting with the nature around us and within us. 

Here, I’ll share a few really effective yet simple strategies that you can use right in your backyard or in your local park, or even on a short break at work. These simple practices are designed to help you connect with the inspiring, healing energy of nature.

1. Sensory Awareness

The first practice is about engaging your senses. This opens a very powerful doorway into connecting to the moment, and to the presence of nature that surrounds us. This can be as simple as just taking a deep breath, letting it go, and allowing your senses to expand into the distance. 

Note the quiet sounds around you. Listen for the quietest sounds in the distance that you can hear.

Next, let your vision expand around you. With a soft gaze, just take in everything in around you, like an owl perched on a tree.

Feel the breeze on your skin.

Feel the texture of the plants and of the soil, and feel the bark of the trees.

Take a deep breath and smell the aroma of the earth and the mysteries on the wind.

Gift yourself even just a single minute to just be without time, without destination ... just sensing your body and sensing the patterns around you.

So that's the first one, engaging your senses. It can be that simple, but it can be profoundly impactful.

2. Cultivating Gratitude

The second practice is cultivating gratitude; we see a lot of studies today about the benefits of gratitude for supporting our sense of well-being. 

So, when you're out there on that park bench (or even just standing outside your door for a moment, pausing on the way to your car before you go to work) and you're just present, being there in your senses, take a moment to add another dimension of awareness. Look around you with a sense of appreciation and gratitude. Notice how nature is supporting your life in this moment.

Notice “the breath of the trees” that is literally allowing you to breathe in pure oxygen in this moment.

Notice the gifts of the earth. Consider the food that you've eaten today, and notice the plants around you for a moment. Feel that kinship with the pulse of life on the landscape, and realize how that's enabling you to live your life today. 

Even having a small moment of gratitude like that, consistently, can enhance your outlook, and really change your day. So that's number two, cultivating gratitude. 

3. Asking Questions to Boost Awareness

The third practice is learning to ask questions as a way of connecting our senses with the landscape. Questions have the power to bring us into the present moment, and they can also engage us in those deeper mysteries that are around us. 

Asking skillful questions is a positive habit to train, and it's one of the oldest awareness skills. If you look at wildlife tracking, for instance, it’s one of the oldest human skills. The art of tracking dates back to the very dawn of civilization; it revolves around the ability to ask deep questions about what's happening in the landscape.

We can practice asking tracking questions such as: 

What tracks am I seeing around me? What footprints from the animals can I discover here? 
What are the plants doing today—how are they different today than they were yesterday? 
What's the weather doing today? Look up at the sky and ask some questions. 
How am I feeling today? Tune within through the questions you hold in your mind. 

Learn to use questions as an ally to boost your awareness and come into the present moment with passionate inquiry and aliveness.

4. Pretending

The fourth nature practice, pretending, is so simple that, as adults, we tend to overlook it. But, if you look at kids, or you think back to when you were a kid, this is probably something you did all the time. It's really natural for kids to just pretend and become different animals, or even to become a stone, or a plant, or a tree. You can become the wind as you walk down the trail!&

Little moments like this really engage the right brain and the sense of creativity. Pretending opens up your perspective, and brings in that fresh joy of childhood.

So when you're stepping out the door, you can be like a cat on the porch. Stand there for a moment with all of your senses activated and alive before you walk to your car. Look around like a cat does when it's let out of the house, just noticing with curiosity what's going on. It's very simple and fun and only takes a minute to do.

5. Intentionally Create Space to Connect

The fifth practice is simply to make connective moments a priority in your life, and to put this on the calendar.

It’s great to set the intent for connection, but for many of us, our lives are so busy that we literally need to put moments of connection with nature on our calendar.

Maybe it's a reminder set every hour on your smartphone, inviting you to step out the door and just take a deep breath for a minute. Perhaps you can block out a moment in the next week for half an hour on the weekend or after work; make time to go for a walk, or to get out and sit in the woods and meditate. Put it on your calendar.

Nature offers the expanded peace,  joy, and sense of connection and lightness that we all seek. I wish you well on your nature connection journeys!

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