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Mindfulness in Nature for All

Written by Bonnie McNabb from All About the Calm

Bonnie is also part of the Woodland Connections at Shining Cliff Woods team which offers a variety of sessions for families, children and adults.



Shining Cliff Woodland is a wonderful place for families to escape the daily rush and spend some quality time with nature. Made up of ancient trees, carpets of bluebells, bubbling streams, muddy puddles, and spiky sweet chestnuts, there’s an abundance of sights, smells and sounds all around.

 

It is by slowing down and taking notice that we really begin to benefit. So stop. Take some deep breaths. Be still and listen. It is in this deliberate slowness that the magic happens!

 

Research shows that nature connection has many benefits, both physical and psychological, from lowering blood pressure and improving cardiovascular health to reducing feelings of stress and anxiety and improving sleep patterns. Nature is the dose of medicine we all need and it’s free, and right on your doorstep; just step into your garden, your local park, or a nearby woodland.

 

Children benefit too. In fact, introducing children to nature connection mindfulness has many far-reaching benefits for themselves and for the future of our natural spaces. But how do we encourage children to slow down when they love to run, jump, swing and spin?

 

Here are some activities that you can try with your children to help slow down and engage the senses:

★     Hear with your deer ears.

Cup your hands behind each ear, be still and listen. Can you hear things from further away? Try wiggling your hands and notice sounds changing. Cup your hands in front of your ears to hear sounds behind you.

★     See with your eagle eyes.

Stand very still. Focus on the thing furthest away and keep watching, but if something close by moves, quickly shift your focus onto that. Was it a leaf blowing in the breeze or a squirrel scampering about?

★     Feel with your fox feet.

Our sense of touch isn’t just about our hands. Walk very slowly like a cautious fox. Notice different sensations when you walk over sticks, stones, grass or mud. Feel the lumps and bumps on the ground through your boots.

★     Smell with your hedgehog nose.

Can you snuffle like a hedgehog? There are lots of good smells in nature. Some are a bit stinky! Moss smells wonderful when damp. Leaves release aromas when you crush them a little. Go on a smelly wander, what can you discover?

★     Taste on a teddy bears picnic.

Who doesn’t love a picnic in the great outdoors? Try eating and drinking slowly and mindfully. Notice the textures, smells and temperature of your food. Savour the taste sensations.

 

There are many other activities that can be done to help us connect with nature:

●      Create some natural art with things you find that have been discarded by nature.

●      Have some feely bags of natural objects. Can children tell what they contain just by touch?

●      Use a magnifying glass to explore tiny details on leaves and rocks.

 

In the outdoors, remember three rules:

           Look after yourself. Look after each other. Look after nature.

           When you leave, no one should be able to tell you were ever there.

 

 

 


 

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