Have you ever been for a walk through a forest or spent time in nature when you have been feeling run down, depressed or full of anxiety?
A walk-in nature is something that is quite often forgotten about when you’re feeling low.
The majority of the population would rather hide away under a blanket and watch a movie with a big bar of chocolate, if you can relate to that then perhaps you would like to try something different?
Did you know that researchers from Stanford University looked to see if a walk-in nature/forest could indeed change a person’s low mood? They also looked in to the reasons why it would be that nature changes the way you feel. They concluded that if you offered someone who is depressed somewhere to walk, they would move away from the city and prefer to walk in a forest. If you have a busy mind you will indeed want to quieten it down so you’ll naturally move away from the hustle and bustle of the city life. Researchers also concluded that the depressed person’s high level of rumination will reduce dramatically when they are in nature, they stop over thinking “what if”, “I should have”, “was it me?”
I have always been one for spending time in nature and it is certainly somewhere where I return during times when my mind is unsettled. During Mercury retrograde recently, I almost lived in the forest, so I certainly tested the above theory out and have been thinking about what else the forest/nature provides us with, during times of heightened anxieties.
Being in nature is like returning home, for me. The colours are beautiful no matter what the season is.
Autumn – crunch time. Leaves of gold, orange, yellow red and brown are strewn all over the forest where the trees have let go of their once, green finger tips to allow for new growth in preparation for the coming spring time. The air is crisp in nature and animals can sometimes be seen gathering the last of their food ready for the winter.
Winter – we have frosting where Jack Frost has nipped at the ground, beautiful ice patterns appear in puddles, the vibrant red berries are vast and the evergreens pave the way through the forest for you to follow. Animals are less busy in the forest but the birds still provide a beautiful melody for you to walk to the beat of. Sometimes there’s snow.
Spring – The forest becomes a busy place, there are bugs, birds, rabbits, mice, foxes and everything prepares for breeding season. The forest has many different shades of green appearing, snow drops with their white hats appears along with blue bells and daffodils. An array of colours to celebrate the rebirth of life. The birds sing a special song for all who visit nature.
Summer – The swallows are zooming around the skies eating bugs and collecting insects to feed their young as quick as possible because they must return to Africa by the end of the season. Butterflies and Bumblebees are ever present. The beautiful vibrant colours are at their best and are thick throughout the forest. The scent of honey suckle is embedded on the evening breeze and the willow trees tickle the ground with their fingertips.
As you can see, nature provides us with many pleasant distractions so that we can find ourselves re connecting to Nature which allows us to find an inner peace that is much needed. Ruminations are lower because we are working with mindfulness whilst in nature, we are grounding ourselves and connecting with the present moment. The here and now. Our Aura is lifted and re energised and if you kick off your shoes, you can feel the Earth beneath your feet. Gaia embraces you, your aura connects to Earth and reminds you to be still and to just be you.
I find in nature that I can breath much easier, trees and plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen in to the air. The air is clean in Nature and this is comforting and cleansing for the body.
During times when your mind is an uncomfortable place to be, walk a little, allow the tree guardians to whisper words of kindness to you, sit on a log and meditate or walk through nature taking in its beauty. Connect to Earth/Nature and spend some time being kind to yourself, take in the beauty of Mother nature and be in awe of her talent to strategically place all in your sight around the forest.
Spend some time thinking about the textures of the tree bark and the scents in the air as you walk, this is also a way of being mindful. Think about how the bark of an old oak tree feels under your hands, follow the patterns whilst taking deep breaths. Look at the intricate pattern of a spider web or ask yourself questions of curiosity, “why is that flower blue but that one is pink?”
As thoughts creep in to your mind let them pass like clouds in the sky. As a hint of rumination sneaks forwards, acknowledge the thought, then let that thought go.
Be kind to yourself – Citrine Sunflower