At turbulent times, we often feel the need to hunker down and shut the world away. It's not surprising, sometimes life deals you a hardball and it's hard to recover. As we get older, at FOLDE we've found solace in the restoring effect of nature.
Sometimes it's a gentle walk through the woods or a hike up a hill, at others it's another step along the South West Coast Path as part of a bigger odyssey. Whatever route we choose physically, mentally it sets us on a better path.
There's something about focussing on one foot in front of the other that settles a raging mind, calms the thoughts, and reminds you that there's always progress to be made.
We're inspired by the approach taken by Ruth at White Peaks Wellbeing and her tips for connecting with nature through journalling. She advises:
In your mind, create the question that you are striving to find an answer to. Turn it over until you're clear what you want to focus on. Then step out into nature; a park, the hills, woodland, the coast - it doesn't matter where.
Step 1: Focus on tuning into all the senses, not just relying on visuals. Walk quietly. Touch nature. Smell what mid-June smells like. Become mindful of your surroundings, but also on slowing your breath. Notice nature around you here. What do you see? Smell? Hear?
Step 2: Become aware of the question you set. Gently bring it back to mind. What would you like nature to help you with right now? Walk with the question and be open to what’s around you. Start communing with your surroundings in a way that suits you. In thought, spoken word, attention. Start looking out for what nature might have to tell you by way of wisdom and insight to the things you are carrying at the moment. Be open to what appears in your eye line and attention. Let it speak to you.
These two things steps can be done simultaneously. Work out a way that suits you. There is no correct way to speak with the world.
There's been a lot of talk recently around forest or woodland bathing. It's been around in Japan for years, but seems to be a recent addition to Western wellbeing practices. Forestry England describe it as 'an act of mindfulness, the simple act of being calm and quiet, observing nature whilst breathing deeply can help both adults and children de-stress and boost health and wellbeing in a natural way."