Connecting with nature is one of the most reliable ways to boost resilience.
From the delicate miracle of a tiny flower to the grandeur of amazing landscapes, nature allows us to realize that we are part of a much, much greater whole.
Using the 5 senses grounding tool in nature is powerful. I went on an early morning walk and was stopped by the amazing smell of a pine tree. I put my hand on it and talked my self through the steps:
5 to see (so many shades of brown in the bark, shades of green in the needles, the sky through the branches, tiny bluish berries, twisted pattern of branches)
4 to touch (rough bark, sticky pitch, smooth needles, soft ground beneath my feet)
3 to hear (the wind, the quiet rattle of the needles, a small bug buzzing)
2 to smell (the pine, the mist in the air) and
1 to taste (I didn’t actually taste the tree but the smell was so strong I could taste it on my tongue)
All focused on the tree in front of me. The details, the miracle, the gift of this one tree.
Being outdoors also allows us to move and to use our bodies. Walking, climbing, swimming, paddling all use muscles that we don’t use sitting in our chairs at work or at home. Also weeding, digging, planting, tasting. We engage more of our whole being when we step outside to experience the weather, rather than asking our electronic devices to update us.
The world outside invites us to be playful. Stomp in mud puddles, splash in a stream, float in water, lie down and watch the clouds. Delight in finding the perfect rock. Nature doesn’t care our age or position.
No matter what we are doing in our stressful days there are some constants. Right now, and always, the waves are crashing against the rocks throwing sea spray into the air. A flower is blooming. Deep in the woods a fern is poking up from the ground, delicate curl unfurling itself. Every minute of every day.
We build individual resilience when we connect with nature. When in nature, we recognize our connection to a larger whole. We find our grounding. Being in natural spaces calms our bodies, and slows our racing thoughts. All these things help us to be more present to ourselves and others, and more able to meet the challenges of the moment or the day.
How do you connect with nature? Where do you find beauty?