Most of us are overworked, overstimulated and overloaded. I am offering to take Mindfulness in Nature groups and individual therapy sessions into the beautiful Ashdown Forest, an area of outstanding beauty that I know well. The soothing, calming, rebalancing effects of nature will significantly enhance your reorientation towards wellness.
Mindfulness in Nature (4 consecutive Mondays)
A unique combination of mindfulness, nature connection and self compassion / self care practices
Spring 2020 Course
Time: 10.30am – 12.30pm
Monday 20th April
Monday 27th April
Monday 4th May
Monday 11th May
Where: Royal Ashdown Forest (nearest parking at the Cricket Pavilion) Forest Row, East Sussex.
A reasonable level of mobility is required as we will be walking in the forest, and sound outdoor clothes are necessary to allow for comfort in all weathers.
What is mindfulness?
Definition by Jon Kabat-Zinn: “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally. This kind of awareness nurtures greater awareness, clarity and acceptance of present moment reality. It wakes us up to the fact that our lives unfold only in moments. If we are not fully present for many of these moments, we may not only miss what is most valuable in our lives but also fail to realise the richness and the depth of our possibilities for growth and transformation.”
The Japanese have a term shinrin-yoku which means bathing in the forest atmosphere, or taking in the forest through our senses.
Research led by the University of Exeter’s European Centre for Environment and Human Health found that people who spend at least 120 minutes in nature a week are significantly more likely to report good health and higher psychological wellbeing than those who don’t visit nature at all during an average week.
The full paper “Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing” is published in the journal Scientific Reports and is available here nature.com/articles/s41598-019-44097-3
Cultivating heart connection means turning our attention to the heart’s intelligence and it’s qualities of kindness, awareness and love. We can deliberately, purposefully develop our capacity for appreciation, gratitude, empathy and meaningful communication with simple heart connection practices.
Well-being Tips and Practices
There are many simple methods to help with psychological or spiritual growth. During the Mindfulness in Nature sessions we will learn some of these practices to help change your brain for the better.
What Are The Benefits of Nature Connection?
A Personal Story
Ten years ago, I had brain surgery to remove a tumour. After the operation, I lay in my hospital bed feeling physically traumatised, as if my whole body had been smashed with a very heavy object. I had no energy and was unable to move or speak.
Then I noticed that when I looked out of the hospital window at a tree outside, I felt a tangible surge of energy. I felt better when I was looking a the tree. I was intrigued and for as much time as I was able, I experimented with looking at the tree and then averting my gaze. The results were the same, when looking at the tree I experienced a soothing of the pain.
The seeds were sown…. the realisation that nature is healing for the body / mind. If looking at a single tree from inside a hospital ward could make an impact, how much greater benefit would we experience by being surrounded by nature, by being immersed in it?
Scientific Research Into the Benefits of Nature for Mental Health
Research studies point to the replenishing effects of nature for those with depression. Ethan Kross PhD, associate professor of psychology at the University of Michigan is one of many experts who has studied the nature-depression link. The findings were as follows:
- Adults with depression who took a 50-minute walk in a natural setting for one research session and then a 50-minute walk in an urban setting for another research session were less depressed and had better memory skills after they took the nature walk.
- Adults who moved to greener urban areas, compared to less green, had better mental health during follow-up three years after the move.
- Those who took group nature walks reported less depression, less stress, and a better sense of well-being than those who didn’t take nature walks, according to a study that looked at more than 1,500 people in a walking program.
- Being outdoors and in nature boosts vitality, which experts define as having physical and mental energy. Those with depression often report fatigue and decreased energy. Researchers found the energy-boosting effect of nature was independent of the physical activity or social interaction experienced while outdoors.
To read more about the study, click here