The power of nature

A few weeks ago I was invited to deliver a session in partnership with the amazing Work Well Being. The session looked at Mastering Self Care, and in developing the session I was drawn to look into the power of nature. People around me, including my own coach, have promoted the benefits of nature to me for years, and intellectually I’ve understood the importance of it. However on doing more research in preparation for the session I learnt a number of things about the greatness of this vast and beautiful resource we have, and I feel like I now truly believe in its power.

Firstly, research has found when we connect to nature (either in real life OR through video or pictures) the part of our brain associated with dopamine release is stimulated, according to Kristophe Green & Dacher Keltner in their article ‘How nature makes us healthier and happier.’ Seeing or being with nature makes us happy in the brain. Similarly, tests have shown a decrease in cortisol (the stress hormone) in individuals who spend time in nature as shared in this US national library of medicine article.

As I explored even further I found a plethora of ideas and perspectives on how nature can help and heal us, and I sat back to reflect on my own experiences of being with nature.

My most mind opening, heart opening experiences have been when I’ve been with nature. Sitting on a beautiful beach in Koh Tao looking out onto the ocean, climbing up the mighty Kilimanjaro (had my most present, mindful moment of everything being exactly as it should be half way up that mountain), seeing clouds of stars when in the Aussie outback and the Sahara desert, watching murmurating starlings dance over my head down the road from my house.

Whenever I do a guided meditation I picture myself on a beach, breathing in the sea air and feeling the sun on my face.

Nature is our plug socket. It’s the place we can go to reconnect to ourselves, and to reconnect to the idea that the world and universe are vast. Much of what we’re bogged down by doesn’t really matter when we connect to that bigger picture.

And the great thing is we can connect to nature whenever we want – we can go out into it, or we can find an image or a picture of it or we can connect back to a memory of it.

It’s there for us, and I for one intend on using it.

Sending love, Hannah

Photo by Daniel Leone on Unsplash

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