Connecting with Nature

Kate Sumner

I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.Henry David Thoreau

I have always had an affinity with nature. As a child I was at my happiest roaming free in the woods, walking the family dog along the river or camping as a Girl Guide. I spent hours staring up at the clouds, chasing squirrels and rabbits and making secret hideaways behind our garden. I found it freeing, peaceful and beautiful. In fact just looking at my wellies today makes me smile and it is with this in mind that I write my blog and hope to inspire you to take action.

 

 

At this time of the year it is all too easy to hide ourselves away. We are cold. We are poor. And we just can’t be bothered! However, this leads us to disconnect from the world around us and spend too much time with our own thoughts. Neither of these behaviours are helpful on your recovery journey and once adopted can be hard to break.

 

If you wish to know the divine, feel the wind of your face and the sun on your hand – Buddha

 

Instead I encourage you to get out into nature. Whether it be a short walk, standing in your garden or sitting on a park bench taking in the sights. There is no right or wrong way to experience nature. It is inclusive and free for all.

Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience.Emerson

 

At the Recover Clinic we are big advocates of mindfulness and this is a perfect opportunity to put it into practice. So slow down and be present in the moment. Just be. Breathe deeply. Take in all the small details and experience the beauty all around us. Experience the stillness.

 

Being outside in nature allows us to reawaken all of our senses;

  • To hear the sound of the trees swaying in the breeze, the birds calling to one another and the crunch of the leaves under foot.
  • To feel the wind blowing through our hair, the warm sun of our faces and our feet squelching through the mud.
  • To see different colours, shapes and sizes. The sun set and the birds soar.
  • To smell the fragrant flowers, the fresh grass and the earthy mud.

 

 In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks – John Muir

 

Our environment has a huge impact on us. Nature is free from the emotional clutter of our home or family. It is a safe space that nurtures and grounds us. It allows us to see that every animal and plant is completely itself and encourages us to follow their example. Nature teaches us that the backdrop of our life is not solely black and white. It inspires us to fill our lives with colour and beauty. It shows us it’s enormity and encourages us to dream big. 

 

In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful. – Alice Walker

 

Nature reminds us that we are alive and part of the universe. It could be considered your higher power. It demonstrates the vibrancy of life and our humble place in the grand scheme of it. It teaches us to appreciate all that is around us and fosters a practice of gratitude. Nature teaches us that as with the changing seasons our lives will also change. It gives us hope that we can bloom as the flowers do.

Nature is not matter only. She is spirit.Carl Jung

There are also numerous health benefits to getting out in nature. Research has shown that being in green spaces reduces our levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, and increases our levels of serotonin, a calming hormone. The majority of our vitamin D intake comes from natural sunlight and so it is recommended that we spend 15 minutes a day outside. Vitamin D levels have an impact on our mood and ability to absorb calcium, particularly important for those at risk of osteoporosis.

So dig out your welly boots, pull on the wooly hat, turn off your phone and go commune with nature!

Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars… and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful. Everything is simply happy. Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance. Look at the flowers — for no reason. It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are. – Osho

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