The Wild Indoors No.5: Mindfulness and Meditation
Welcome to the final part of a 5-part blog post series, The Wild Indoors. This is a collaborative series written together with Leah Bennett, who is a sustainability writer and researcher. Over the 5 posts, we share tips on how to bring more nature into your life in a variety of ways, even when you are staying in because of lockdown.
For the last but not least in the series, I share my personal favourite ways to connect with nature on a wellbeing level and how to integrate nature with mindfulness and meditation.
It is well known that nature benefits mental health. The exact reasons why our wellbeing and nature are so connected is still being understood everyday. However there is no doubting the power it can have. I highly recommend downloading and reading ‘Thriving with Nature’, which is a free guide created by the Mental Health Foundation and WWF. It is all about the benefits of nature and how to get the most out of nature for your health and wellbeing.
Sadly due to the pandemic, we are not able to get outside as much as we would like. There are still ways that we can feel the benefits of nature through mindfulness practices.
Never underestimate the power of the daily walk, which we can currently still do at the time of writing this.
The concept of mindfulness is all about being present. It’s about being aware of what is going on around us at any single moment, Mindful walking is a great way to start practising mindfulness in general.
Here’s how I introduce mindfulness into my walking:
- When you go outside, notice how it feels to breathe. Focus on the fresh air and what it feels like to breathe in and out.
- What does the ground feel like beneath your feet as you take each step? Can you feel a connection between you and the earth?
- Focus on the senses. What can you see, hear, or smell? What is the weather doing? Notice what the sky is doing. Can you hear any birdsong? Can you see any wildlife?
Bringing your awareness to your surroundings brings a greater connection to the nature that exists outside your front door and to the fact that nature is always present.
Megan enjoying some early morning sunrise on a mindful woodland walk
It’s frustrating when you can’t get out of the house as much as you’d like to walk and enjoy nature outside.
I like meditating at home as a way of bringing nature inside on a deeper level.
There are so many amazing free meditation resources online which guide you through a meditation linked to nature in some way. I love ones which take you on a walk through nature and you can imagine the surroundings. Some use analogies to focus on that connection between you and nature. Often I like to just play sounds from nature such as birdsong or water as a calming background sound.
Here are a few of my favourites:
- Nature Guided Meditation podcast (Spotify) – A lovely series of short meditations for when you need a timeout moment in your day. Each meditation allows you to experience yourself as a part of nature such as seasons changing and plants growing.
- Relaxing White Noise (Spotify) – Lots of natural white noise sounds to have in the background as you go about your day, or to listen to and have a quiet moment of relaxation.
- Relax for a While (YouTube) – The Relax for a While YouTube channel is full of meditation and relaxation videos, including some beautiful nature guided meditations.
- Talk down a mountain by The Honest Guys (YouTube) – I love this 2 hour meditation by The Honest Guys, one of my go-to channels for guided meditation. Designed to help sleep, the meditation features a guided walk down a mountain accompanied with the sounds of nature along the way.
Leah enjoying a peaceful moment surrounded by trees and a calm lake
Around the house
Houseplants are not the only way to introduce nature into your home decor. Having nature-inspired decor such as pictures, natural colours, scented candles and reed diffusers, and wall murals are various ways to have nature in the home.
In workplaces, it has even been proven that having biophilic offices which integrate nature into the workspace and building design improves workers’ wellbeing.
Leah and I had a great time coming up with and creating this series. You can find all of The Wild Indoors posts here.
Let us know your thoughts and if you would like to see more series in future.
Are you ready to rediscover your connection with nature?