Practising mindfulness in nature
January 01, 2020 by Extinction Rebellion
Mindfulness sounds like a panacea for modern day ills: it’ll boost your self-esteem, ease your stress and make you happier!
So why aren’t we all doing it? In principle, mindfulness sounds simple enough; just pay full attention to whatever you’re experiencing right now, without judgement. But in practice it takes just a few seconds before our minds start to wander and what sounded easy starts to feel hard.
This is where nature comes in, as there’s good evidence that it can help you cultivate mindfulness. Notice what catches your eye. Let whatever it is fill your awareness for a moment. What colours and shades can you see? Let your eye slowly run round the edge of it. Feel the texture. Try to imagine you’ve never seen anything like it before: In a way you haven’t, as every natural object is unique. Then take a minute or so to just listen. Try not to label what you hear, but don’t be surprised if you find that hard. You’ll probably start making judgements: birdsong is lovely but that squawking is just noise! Can you hear the sounds without labelling them?
Nature provides a rich variety of sensory experiences to focus on, offers profound lessons in acceptance and – by revealing our interconnectedness – facilitates greater compassion.
Mindfulness can also strengthen your sense of nature connectedness, with some research suggesting that it can lead to people becoming more engaged in environmental action.