NATURAL HIGH Our bodies and our minds are happiest in more-natural settings.
It was Anne Frank who said, “I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.” As we know, she was no stranger to suffering. Yet she firmly believed that nature had the ability to heal. As humans we are naturally drawn to nature and find comfort in natural settings. We are just as much connected to Earth as the plants and trees, and I believe that our bodies and our minds are happiest in more-natural settings.
There are many ways to reconnect with nature and make contact with the natural world part of our daily routines.
Bring nature indoors
If you can’t get outside, bring nature inside to you. Keep plants around the home or office. Open windows regularly to let in fresh air. Keep photos of nature or time spent in nature. Use them to remember and meditate on previous times spent outside and the positive impact it had on you.
Take a walk
Go for a walk in a garden, along a beach, up a mountain, in the woods or in grassy fields. Engage all of your senses, and really take in the whole experience.
Find places to exercise in nature. Walk the dogs on the beach, go for a cycle on the Greenway, swim in the sea, use the outside gyms or play football in the park. It doesn’t need to take much time for you to feel the benefits.
Engage all of your senses in the present moment while out in nature. Appreciate the sounds, sights, smells, tastes, and feel of everything around you. If you can’t get outdoors, listen to guided meditations that include scenes of nature. By doing this, you get the benefits of meditation and the calming effects of nature.
Eating and nature
Eat foods that grow naturally from the earth, organic if possible, from the local area, or even better, from your own garden. The closer you feel to the food you eat, the closer you feel to the earth and the health benefits are greater. Choosing foods that are in season also helps us to feel more connected to nature.
Expose yourself to negative ions
Negative ions are odourless, tasteless, invisible oxygen ions with an extra electron attached, produced through water molecules. Certain environments are rich in negative ions, especially those near water. Get outside after it has rained, or take a walk on the beach. If you have a headache, are stressed or are finding it hard to concentrate, absorbing negative ions can have a very beneficial effect.
Ultimately, the more high-tech we become, the more nature we need. The best way to get that is by experiencing nature it mindfully. When we slow down and take in beautiful natural surroundings, we feel restored and our mental performance improves too. More and more research is highlighting the importance of nature for wellbeing – but we don’t need science to tell us how it makes us feel: happy.
Jannah Walshe is a counsellor and psychotherapist based in Castlebar and Westport. A fully accredited member of The Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, she can be contacted via www.jannahwalshe.ie, or at firstname.lastname@example.org or 085 1372528.