This week is mental health awareness week, with the focus on nature and the environment. Mindfulness can really help us become more aware of the huge benefits being in and around nature can improve our physical and mental wellbeing. Mindfulness can also make us aware of our own immediate environment and how this may be affecting how we feel, react, relax and focus when working and living a busy life.
Our immediate environment may not be something we may have taken the time to pause and notice. When we are busy rushing around in automatic pilot we may not notice the little things in our room that may have a positive or negative affect on the way we feel and work. Being in a cluttered environment really can affect how we concentrate. Bringing nature to our immediate environment through pictures, patterns on cushions, flowers, house plants all help use to see our environment in a different way. If we have access to a window taking a micro break to look outside, to see the trees, flowers or look up and see the sky and clouds.
Bringing natural scents into our environment can all help subtly change our immediate environment to a place of calm or help uplift a low mood. using hand creams, essential oils, diffusers with Lavender or lemon really can help bring your attention to the present.
Noticing what we hear in our environment can also affect our concentration and stress levels. We are all unique with some of us wanting silence and others working better with noise. Taking the time to hear nature, to hear the birds, the rain, the wind just for a few minutes helps us come out of doing mode and into being present.
Taking time to notice what we are wearing the feel of natural fibres like cotton, wool or metal in jewellery all help the mind to focus on being and letting go of busy doing thoughts.
When we have the opportunity to be outside taking the time to be mindful in nature can have a powerful affect on calming the mind, easing anxiety and lifting our mood. How many times have you gone for a walk and thought about a million different things? Taking the time when you step outside to connect to your senses, notice the blossom, trees, birds, butterflies, clouds and sky. Listen to the sound of nature through bird song even when close to noisy traffic! Notice what your body feel like when you move outside, feel your feet connect to the ground beneath you.
Nature offers amazing daily gifts, being mindful allows us to notice them, appreciate and feel grateful for them and in doing so boosts our physical and mental wellbeing.