Connect with Nature through Mindful Journaling (Part 1)
Every once in awhile, amidst the hustle and bustle, it is important to shut everything down and reconnect with nature. We have long been aware that our five senses - sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch - is the epicentre for how we connect with each other. We are not alone, as nature conjures up a much bigger universe with the trees and flowers, birds, grasshoppers and beetles that surrounds us every day. This colourful kaleidoscope of ‘light and shadow, form and colour’, is constantly seeking - and failing at the same time - to catch our attention. We most certainly see, hear and smell them daily. So why don't we reciprocate their allure? Jon Kabat-Zinn - an American professor emeritus of medicine and the creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Centre for Mindfulness in Medicine - poses a simple yet provocative question. Can we feel it? Can we know it? Can we be embraced by it? And when might that be? When? When? When? When? When? We see what we want to see, not what is actually before our eyes. We look but we may not apprehend or comprehend. We may have to tune our seeing just as we tune an instrument, to increase its sensitivity, its range, its clarity, its empathy. It is no wonder, with life becoming all so consuming and filling with limitless distractions from the digital world, we have tuned out of nature a long time ago. This state of mind did not happen overnight, nor over a generation for that matter. Our harried lifestyles, in pursuit of various dreams and putting food on the table, have now turned our innate connection with nature into discourse. If you are an early riser, do you hear the birds chirping outside your windows in the morning? And are you conscientious of the rain when they fall on your skin. If your answer is no, it is not difficult to reconnect with Nature. And here's why you should start taking baby steps to do so. 3 benefits of connecting with Nature: 1. Promotes Self-Reflection When we reflect about our own values and attitudes, this leads to self-awareness, which improves the understanding of our concept of self. We should find ways to always promote self-reflection, places to pause in Nature, and ways to prompt reflection. 2. Promotes Happiness Experiencing Nature can impact our mood positively by removing us away from the grind of daily life and constant information bombardment that can lead to mental fatigue and burnout. A time out in Nature helps to restore the natural state of mind and this inner peace allows us to think and feel better. 3. Promotes Health Being in company of Nature has a profound impact on our health by helping us reduce anxiety, brooding and fear. Nature is an antidote for stress: It can lower blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and stress hormone levels and this in turn, can help to improve one’s immune system. In our next article, we will share with you some useful techniques that can help you connect with nature and be part of it again. In the meantime, read more about how you can practise mindfulness to prepare you for your reaffirmation with Mother Nature. Haven’t got your hands on our stylish journals? Here are our recommendations for you. #ConnectWithNature is proudly presented and prepared in collaboration with Shalini Damodaran, an established Mindfulness practitioner and teacher. For more information, please visit https://shalinidamodaran.com/.
Connect with Nature through Mindful Journaling (Part 2)
Useful techniques to be one with Nature We’ve addressed the benefits of connecting with Nature in our previous article and in this new 3-part series, we’re sharing with you the techniques to help you immerse yourself in the natural world and let Nature do its wonders on your body and mind. 1. Imagine yourself as a tree and stand comfortably Imagine yourself standing strong and stable with roots running deep into the ground and leaves and branches spreading out like antennae accessible, receptive and patient. If you find your mind wandering, apply the skills you’ve learnt in our previous article to ground your thoughts. Be comfortable and get a good grip of the ground with the four corners of your feet. Anchor yourself in and take deep heavy breaths. You will soon realise Nature in the form of gravity will start helping you get a better grounding. Use the breathing techniques you’ve mastered previously and focus on following your breath as you breathe in and out. 2. Pay attention to happenings around you Holding onto the visualization as a tree, raise your hands outwards like the wide branches of the trees you see around you. Revisit the practice you’ve learnt from Mindful Body Scan and feel every sensation that Nature has in store for you. Embrace every bit of sunshine, heat, and smell by being deeply attuned to our body. Be still and absorb your surroundings. If you feel your mind drifting and wanting to move on, pull yourself back, and visualize yourself as a longstanding tree again who has been standing tall and still throughout time. Bring your hands back down and now close your eyes. Listen, and listen deeply. Deep listening helps you to achieve inner peace to make you feel as one with Nature. Take in the sounds of your surrounding with intention. 3. Write freely about your experience Documenting the sounds will not be difficult now, for your mind has thoroughly been absorbed with Nature. Your connection with Nature has now given you a smooth passage into writing freely. Find a quiet space and sit in any comfortable position and get ready to journal. Make a simple list of the sounds you have heard and describe them. Conclude your journaling by reflecting on your experience. How did it make you feel? What are your thoughts? This might just be the start to an awakening that you’ve been waiting for. Keep practising this new skill with the ones you’ve learnt previously and continue your Mindful Journaling. Select your confidante to take on your Nature journeys with these recommendations for you. #ConnectWithNature is proudly presented and prepared in collaboration with Shalini Damodaran, an established Mindfulness practitioner and teacher. For more information, please visit https://shalinidamodaran.com/.
Connect with Nature with Mindful Journaling (Part 3)
Useful techniques to be one with Nature The wonders of Nature can bring endless joy and benefits when you allow yourself to reconnect with its magic. In the second instalment of this series, we shared an approach on connecting with Nature through Visualisation. In this next part, we take you deeper to develop your bond with Nature through Pure Listening. The orchestra of sounds that Nature exudes might seem like a random tune put together, but once you listen deeply, you will realise there is a very controlled chaos that functions within this environment. While human nature tends to want to make sense of everything, these new techniques we are offering here are quite the opposite. Pure hearing is taking in sounds as they come without attempting to assign any association or meaning to it and it allows us to develop a connection with Nature in an unobstructed way. 1. Find a quiet spot in the park and sit comfortablyFind a quiet space in the park. By now, you should be familiar with the routine to begin the exercise: sit comfortably and relax. Feel free to adjust your clothing and posture till you are ready. When you are ready, drop your gaze and close your eyes gently. 2. Listen to the sounds around youNow, with your eyes remained closed, just listen and tune in effortlessly. Take all the sounds in and keep an open mind. Don't bother with wondering what the birds are for now and quite simply, just enjoy the soundscape that is filled with birds chirping, rustling leaves and water gurgling in the background. In the instance, there is momentary freedom as we detach the need to make sense of what we’re hearing. Pure hearing happens effortlessly. In this moment right where you are sitting, leave your thoughts, expectations, knowledge from prior experiences behind and give in to the sounds. Just allow the pure sounds to come to you without judgment. Following the advice of Jon Kabat-Zinn, an American professor emeritus of medicine and the creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Centre for Mindfulness in Medicine, It is very much a bathing in sound, a sensuous luxuriating in pure sound and the spaces between them, in layer upon layer of sounds. Now they are simply what they are, no longer identified, no longer listened for in a straining, reaching sort of way. What we do hear from Nature every day is now amplified, because you are now tuning in with real intent. What you have here now is pure awareness, untainted by thoughts, pre-conceived ideas and judgments, which can be impediments. There is tranquillity in the hearing and in the knowing underneath the sound. Celebrate in this spaciousness of soundscape, because where the mind constantly interrupts itself in daily living, this moment is wholesomely dedicated now to listening to Nature. 3. Write freely about your experienceAs with our previous practices, we conclude each session by recollecting in tranquillity. Open a fresh page on your Collins Debden journal and make a list of the pure sounds you’ve just heard. Draw back from your learnings from Reflective Writing and describe the experience. Was it effortless for you? Did you find yourself looking for sounds or did you allow it to come to you? Keep on doing this regularly to foster your connection with Nature and solidify your thoughts by documenting them in your journal. Choose from our wide range of journals and pick one that suits your style. #ConnectWithNature is proudly presented and prepared in collaboration with Shalini Damodaran, an established Mindfulness practitioner and teacher. For more information, please visit https://shalinidamodaran.com/.