Being in nature has multiple health benefits. It lowers our stress hormones, blood pressure and heart rate. It boosts our immune system and decreases inflammation in our body. It boosts our mood and increases our focus and energy levels. Getting out onto a hiking trail through the desert or forest has many short term and long term benefits for us.
In busy times when it is difficult to go hiking or during this period when we are physically distancing, we still need to experience nature on a regular basis. One way to do this is to have someplace close to home that you can visit at least a few times per week and get your nature boost. This can be simply a tree near your home or in a small park. Choose one that calls to you by the pattern of its bark or shape of its leaves or its location next to a fountain.
Once you are sitting or standing by your tree, first spend some time really noticing your senses. Look at how the sun comes through the leaves or how the branches split from each other. Smell the fresh air or the rain coming or flowers nearby. Listen to the breeze rustling the branches, the birds singing or people talking. Feel the air on your skin, the ground beneath you, and check in with how your body feels. Notice what is changing around you.
Then share energy with your tree. Touching or hugging the tree can help but you can also just sit nearby. Imagine the roots going deep into the earth pulling out nutrients and water and stabilizing the tree. Take a few deep breaths. Feel the energy coming from the earth and into you as you breathe in. Feel the energy flow back into the earth as you breathe out. Look at the branches reaching to the sky and the leaves absorbing the sun and its energy. Feel the energy coming from the universe into your body as you breathe in then back up to the sky as you breathe out.
Ponder all that nature gives us and have gratitude. Think about how you should give back. Take some time each day to pause and be with nature in some way. It will calm and restore you.
2 thoughts on “Finding your tree-mate to connect with nature.”
Do you have any advice for how to cope with the feelings about our historical drought? I am one who has always suffered as the land and animals in nature suffer – I feel their pain. I have plenty of water but I can feel they do not and I’m constantly aware of this pain. I do what I can re conservation but it is little relief.
Hi Randa, thank you for your question. It is great that you are doing your own part in conserving water. Volunteering helps the land and our own sense of peace that we are doing what we can. One meditation that I like is called Loving Kindness. It is a way to send your energy to all the parts of nature. How I practice it is to take a deep breath. Then when I breathe out I send out one of the following messages: May all living creatures be happy. May all living creatures be healthy. May all living creatures feel safe. May all living creatures thrive and flourish. It is a way to feel connection with the world around us. Some days I do this while touching or leaning against my tree. Appreciating and connecting with nature is the first step.