55. Connecting with nature

The other morning I took a run as I often do, but I was listening to a podcast that was talking about the topic of loneliness.

In yesterday's post I invited you to consider ways you may want to connect with others, but just as importantly for our sense of well-being is the opportunity to connect with nature.

It reminds us just how big this world of ours is, it allows us to open up the lens we view life through, so that it's a more expansive view – especially helpful if we are feeling overwhelmed or struggling to disconnect from some tough challenges.

Nature affords us a great sense of familiarity – landscapes don't really change, how much stability and comfort we can find in the familiar hills, trees, pathways.

How tall some of those trees that line our green spaces are, and how wide some of our native tree-trunks are! Have you tried to wrap your arms around a tree? Go on, I invite you, liberate your inner curious child and hug a tree – it's an amazing feeling to get in touch with it's majestic-ness. Is that a word? It brings such a sense of reassurance and solidarity.

How by noticing nature we are more likely to take care of it, we develop and deepen our sense of kinship with our natural world, and reminds us just how connected we are.

To get in touch with our natural world doesn't mean having to go and find a secluded piece of untouched woodland, it can be the plant on your window ledge, the poppies that are in abundance on the building sites, or at the side of the road. The trees in full bloom in your nearby play-park.

I stopped and paused on my run, and noticed just what was in front of me, the beautiful wild roses in full bloom, I stuck my nose in to smell their perfume, studies the delicate form of the petals, I noticed a tree towering above, creating a small pocket of shelter, the different structure to its branches and leaves, then to the floor, the scattered petals, pine cones, grass, I was amazed at what I spotted when I paused.

Where can you go and take a moment to re-connect with our natural world? To bring a sense of connectedness to your day?

We know that being in the natural world can bring a sense of ease, research has proven it can reduce anxiety and rumination and provide a sense of well-being, it's familiarity a sense of warmth, of reassurance.

It can also give us a sense of space/distance from our difficulties and challenges, it can feel like 'time away'.

So your challenge this week is to build in time to get out into the natural environment - it can be your local park, sitting next to some trees that line the pavements of your town or city, whatever you have available to you.

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