Why being in nature won't help you de-stress
Have you ever heard that being in nature is good for you and is one of the best things for stress? Well, what if I told you that this is not true and simply ‘being’ in nature is just about as good as not being in nature at all and in fact, being in nature won’t help you de-stress.
Well, okay. Being in nature can help you de-stress, but only if combined with mindfulness and connection.
Imagine for a moment that you are walking through a park. But you are wandering along with your eyes glued to the screen and your headphones in your ears. You flick glances occasionally this way and that around the screen, your thumbs absently scrolling, while your thoughts ruminate over worries and stresses, frustrations and anxieties.
How would you feel by the end of that walk?
I’m guessing that by the end of this walk, you would be feeling just as stressed as you were when you started it. In fact you probably would not have been aware that you had just completed your walk and wondered how you arrived at the end of it!
How to de-stress in nature instead...
Now, imagine walking through that same park. But this time, with you phone safely out of the way in your pocket and your senses turned outwards. You turn your head towards the sounds you hear – bees humming, grasshoppers strumming and birds singing vibrantly in the trees. You breathe deeply, enjoying the inhaled perfume of roses, lilac and hyacinths, cut grass and recent rain. Joyfully, your eyes wander this way and that, delighting in the sunshine and clouds, the dappled leaves, the fluttering butterflies and the beautiful flowers.
How would you feel by the end of this walk?
I’m guessing you would be feeling pretty good. Definitely less stressed and perhaps more hopeful, energised and content.
These two walks were both in the same place, but the results are so different. This is because while doing the second walk, you were present and aware, using your senses and noticing all the amazing things happening around you. But during the first walk, your attention was directed inside your own head, leaving you unaware of what was going on.
I believe it is this mindfulness, which makes the difference in helping you de-stress when in the presence of nature. Not simply the act of being physically in nature. What do you think?
Why not try it the next time you are out and see if you notice a difference.
Goodbye for now and happy nature walking,
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