Struggling with stress or anxiety can make everyday tasks daunting, difficult and stress inducing. Everyone has different techniques to relax, calm down and feel connected with ALL our emotions.
Many people find that connecting with nature is extremely powerful to reduce stress and anxiety or when feeling extremely strong emotions related with grief. Feeling the breeze on your face, smelling the trees and listening to them rustle in the wind can bring you “down to earth” relatively quickly and is very grounding. Nature also impacts our physical wellbeing. It can help reduce blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. It may even reduce mortality, according to researchers Stamatakis and Mitchell.
You could go for a mindful walk or you could try this simple relaxing guided meditation in nature to calm the mind.
A Guided Meditation in Nature to connect with your surroundings and calm the mind
1. Find a nice spot outside in the fresh air, maybe the backyard, or a favorite spot on a hiking trail, in a park or on the beach.
2. Sit in a comfortable position – against a tree, cross legged on a pillow or you can even lie on your back on a blanket. Whichever feels right for you in that moment.
3. Close your eyes and take 3 really deep breaths pushing your belly out when you inhale.
4. Start listening to the sounds nature is spreading around such as birds singing in the distance. Even if there are other sounds such as people or traffic in the background, focus on these also, they are all there to help ground you in the present moment that you are living. Bringing your attention to these sounds can help with staying focused and preventing the mind from wandering. If the mind does wander (and it will!) this doesn’t mean you are “doing it wrong”, this is actually part of the mediation process. Simply note in your head that the mind has wandered and go back to focusing on the sounds around you.
5. Now notice any physical sensations such as the way the breeze hits your cheek, the places where your body is in contact with the ground under you or anything you are sitting against. With every exhale, release any tension you feel in your muscles a little bit more and feel the weight of your body sink into the ground.
6. Accept the stress if that is what you are feeling in that moment, don’t try to make it go away or feel that the mediation “is not working properly”. As you breath in, notice any tense areas in the body, and when you breathe out, focus on that particular part of the body and imagine that you are exhaling the tension as you breath out. Repeat for a few breaths on the different areas where you feel that stress and tense muscle in your body.
7. Slowly bring your attention back to the ground under you. Then calmly notice the sounds you can hear again, however close or far they may be. Slowly open your eyes by taking in the surround without moving. Then take a few deep breaths and stretch your arms out if you feel like it.
If you like how you feel afterwards, you could make a goal of meditating outside for 5-10 minutes a day. And if it’s raining and preventing you from going outside, take advantage and open the windows and listen to the rain hit the leaves on the trees or the street while it nurtures the environment around you.
Here is further reading – how to connect with nature through “Earthing” or why not try “Forest Bathing“?
Nature can allow people to feel connected not only with the environment, but bring out stressed and anxious mind back to a calming state.
With meditation, we can appreciate every emotion we have without trying to make them go away, even the uncomfortable ones, while learning to be mindful of how to treat ourselves and the world around us. Although it doesn´t necessarily have to be through this guided meditation in nature, it can be through taking a mindful walk for example, working in nature, forest bathing or earthing as mentioned above.
Source: Random Acts of Green
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