Both mindfulness and spending time in nature have many benefits, and combining the two – practising mindfulness in nature – creates a synergy that enhances them all. Nature connection, well-being and mindfulness are interrelated: Nature connection is enhanced by mindful meditation and both support well-being.
Current research has focused on mindfulness practice in nature reserves or in the context of wilderness trips lasting several days. Urban natural spaces are typically not considered to be ‘wild’ enough for this kind of approach to work. So while there’s good evidence that mindfulness in nature can enhance nature connection and wellbeing (Unsworth et al.), limiting it to remote ‘wild’ nature puts it beyond the reach of the majority.
Could structured mindfulness practice in city parks enhance nature connection and wellbeing? My personal experience as a therapist and workshop facilitator suggests that it can. My mindfulness in nature workshops draw on a range of approaches including ecopsychology and traditional Buddhism. By combining breath work, walking, sensory awareness and gratitude mediations, participants can develop greater acceptance, compassion and a deeper awareness of our interconnectedness.
Taking mindfulness in nature into the city makes this valuable practice accessible to those who, arguably, need it the most. To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, I’m co-facilitating two free mindfulness in nature workshops in the city of Exeter. Join Audaye Elesedy and myself on the early evenings of Tuesday, May 15 or Saturday, May 19. Numbers are limited so you need to book.