12 Simple Ways to Connect With Nature
Nature deficit disorder is a real thing that humans are experiencing, especially in children. It’s the idea that our significantly reduced time outdoors is having an effect on our health, wellbeing, spirit, and survival. We all know how it goes – we are glued from one small screen (our phones) to another big screen (the TV) to a medium-sized screen (a computer) in rotation all day long. When it’s all over we are tired and stuck in our cycle, and “unwind” by sitting in front of a screen again, and we are losing our connection with nature.
But it shouldn’t be solely attributed to technology. Nature isn’t accessible or inclusive for everyone, and there are cultural, socio-economical, and political differences in the world that play their role.
The disconnect from nature has been long, slow, and complex.
This loss of connection is leading to unsustainable behaviors that are putting our health and the health of the planet at risk. We know that our health and the health of the planet are intrinsically linked.
Connecting with nature has so many personal benefits:
- It improves your mood
- Reduced stress, anxiety, and depression
- It can improve your physical health
- It increases your empathy
- It relieves attention fatigue and increases creativity
Nature’s beauty and benefits can be found anywhere – not just in a National Park or a secluded part of the world. Try one of these simple ways to connect with nature three times a week for at least 30 minutes.
Earthing (or Grounding)
This is an extremely simple thing to do that makes a huge impact. Earthing is making contact with Earth’s surface electrons by going barefoot or touching your skin to the earth so that the energy from the Earth can transfer to you. There are numerous benefits to Earthing – like reducing inflammation, reducing stress, improving blood circulation, improved sleep, and more.
Go for a Leisurely Nature Walk
Whether you’re in a city or the country, there is the opportunity for a nature walk. It’s a great opportunity to increase your physical health while improving your mental health. Taking the time for a leisurely walk will allow you to notice your surroundings – amplifying the direct connection between nature and humans.
This is perfect for anyone – as it can be an indoor or outdoor exercise! Even better if you can do both! Hydroponics is something that is really easy to do if you have the tools. I have a hydroponic stand from Lettuce Grow that I am OBSESSED with and would recommend to anyone if you want to make an investment in growth. If you’re just starting and want some simple tips – here’s my episode of Hometown: Earth on Growing for Beginners!
If you’re growing inside, you can regrow new plants from scraps, or just have a few house plants (the easiest I’ve found to grow are sansevieria, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, or pothos!)
If you’re growing outside, try your hand at a garden bed full of flowers (pollinator friendly!) or fresh veggies!
Watch the Sunset Or Sunrise
If you didn’t know, I LOVE watching the sunrise and set. They both have such a different reverence to them. You don’t have to do anything other than find a good spot, keep your eyes peeled, and watch as the colors of the sky change.
Earth’s beauty is its defense mechanism. We tend to not destroy the things we think are beautiful. Making it a practice to watch the sun come and go can help you to connect and realize the beauty that earth has to offer no matter where you are located.
Practice Mindfulness In Nature
This is one of my favorite things to do! Mindfulness is the practice of bringing your attention to the present moment. It’s being aware of our thoughts, feelings, behaviors, movements, and the effects we have on other people.
“Connecting to nature can help us connect to not only wanting to protect the earth but wanting to protect each other.” – Lauren Wimmer, the Wellness Womb
Keep A Nature Journal
When you push yourself to write at least a page of what you observe in nature, you start to take notice of the little beauties of nature you may have otherwise looked over.
It also helps to solidify those memories in your mind so you don’t lose your connection to nature so easily between experiences. This would also be a great place to record gratitude for the earth or doodle images of the creatures you see!
Green exercise is a term used to describe a physical workout that you do in a natural environment. It is proven to improve your physical and mental health. Similar to taking a nature walk, it reduces blood pressure, blood sugar levels and helps with maintaining a healthy weight as well as reducing stress and anxiety. So next time you want to run, practice yoga, bike, or otherwise try doing it outdoors.
Try a New Outdoor Activity
This is perfect for people who want to really reconnect with nature with a new shared experience. This could include
- Hiking a harder trail
- Rock Climbing
- Outdoor Yoga
Spend Time Outside in the Dark
Stargazing is the perfect opportunity to realize our place in the vast universe and express our gratitude to the earth for protecting us from the rest of space. Even if it is a cloudy night, you can still benefit from spending time in the dark. Our eyesight is our most dominant sense, so by putting ourselves in the dark our other senses will become heightened. This will help you to notice sounds, smells, and sensations you not regularly pay attention to.
Bird watching is something you can do with or without binoculars. When you start to focus on another living creature than yourself, you begin to appreciate and respect nature much more. Even if you arent bird watching you could watch other living animals around you, like squirrels, fish, or ducks, with the same effect. Put up a bird feeder if you have space, bringing nature to you!
Snap Wildlife Photos
Ok I know I said screens were causing the problem, but as an avid photographer – I had to throw this one in! Documenting what you see in nature helps you to go back and relive that moment. It also allows you to see the world from a new lens, or perspective if you will, and to share that beauty you capture with others.
Get Involved in Conservation
If you want to truly connect with nature while effecting positive change – get involved with conservation. From cleaning up litter to removing invasive species, volunteering to preserve your local environment will allow you to grow deeper respect for the earth while helping to protect it. Try searching ‘Community Conservation Near Me’ to see local events in your area.
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