The benefits of nature

I recently attended an online meditation retreat and as part of our morning break we were invited to take 15 minutes to be in nature.

There’s so much written about the health benefits of being in nature, but there is also a lot of solid research being done in this area to back-up these claims.

In a review commissioned by Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria to better understand and harness global studies in regard to the relationship between nature, health and wellbeing, it concludes:

“A rapidly growing body of research provides evidence that time spent in nature is good for us – physically, mentally and emotionally.”

When it comes to how much time you need to spend in nature to achieve this, it found that spending at least two hours in nature per week is associated with self-reports of being in good health or having high wellbeing.

“There is also evidence that frequent visits to green spaces are associated with lower levels of perceived stress and cortisol levels and that a dose of as little as 10–20 min sitting or walking in green spaces can reduce stress, anger, anxiety.”

So being invited to sit in nature for 15 minutes was a no-brainer for me.

Person sitting on a bench in a natural environment
Sitting in nature

It was suggested that we ‘do nothing’ just look, see, observe, listen, smell, feel.

Essentially, tap in to our natural senses and experience the moment fully.

To me though, that isn’t doing nothing, rather it’s ‘not doing’, and that takes quite an effort.

Not thinking about something that’s happened.

Not worrying about something that’s coming up.

Not picking up my phone to check… anything.

Just seeing, feeling and hearing.

It’s something I recently invited my community meditation group to do.

Take 10-15 minutes to just ‘be’ in nature.

One lady this week said she had no idea if it was a result of coming to the meditation sessions, but she’s started to notice and hear the birds much more.

That has to be a good thing – right?

So take some time for yourself – in a park, garden or any other green space – where you can observe nature just doing what it does.

Your health and wellbeing will thank you for it.

Ann 🙏

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