What you can do in nature to heal your anxious mind

Stepping outside into bracing fresh air, and feeling the wind in your hair blowing away your metaphorical woes, is a wake up like no other. Sometimes when your thoughts get cloudy you have to step outside and brace the storm.

When you go for a walk in the woods, do you ever just listen to the noises that surround you? The birds in the tree, the rustling of the leaves, and the crunch of the ground underfoot. If you really focus your mind you can distract yourself from your thoughts.

Listen

Next time you go for a stroll and want to clear your mind try doing these things. Allow your mind to really tune into your senses. Think about what you can hear and listen for awhile. If your mind wanders bring your thoughts back to your hearing. You could imagine conversations that you think the birds would be having in the trees.

Smell

Then focus on what you can smell. Do you smell the pine from the tree? Or the salt from the sea? Whatever it is, just acknowledge it and let it be. You don’t have to think too much about it, but if it is a particularly nice smell allow yourself to feel grateful that you are in that environment.

Look

Now you are in a relaxed state, turn your attention to what surrounds you. What can you see? How many colours can you see around you? If you’re in the woods, you might find yourself wondering how long the trees around you have been rooted in the earth for? Don’t try and over analyse the questions as you ask them, just allow them the be and talk solace in the unknown.

Meditate

Perhaps you could find a quiet spot to stop and practise some meditation? Close your eyes and turn your attention to your breath. Breathe in for three breaths and out for three breaths. As you breathe out say:“I’ll release the things that are out of my control.” Or alternatively you could say: “I breathe in joy and strength and breathe out wisdom and peace.” You could also make up your own mantra. Repeat this until you feel like you believe what you are saying.

Then, like before, focus on your senses. If your mind is heavy with thoughts, just acknowledge them and bring you focus back to your breath.

It doesn’t matter how long you do this for, just do it for however long you feel like you can. As you return home repeat to yourself: “I am renewed and refreshed and I can tackle any challenge I am faced with.”

Good luck, and remember to put your faith in nature.

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