Last month, we discussed how we can shake off the cobwebs in our minds, bodies, and spirits as we move into spring. As the weather warms up even more, we feel it’s important to discuss the power that nature can play in ushering in new beginnings and enhancing overall wellness, too.
Likely, you’ve realized the healing power of nature intuitively, whether from a soul-stirring walk in the woods or a clear-headed sense of calm just from soaking up the fresh air. At Hudson Healing Arts, nature has a place in each and every one of our wellness offerings. Our team believes that the natural world offers an abundance of healing, which is why we use natural imagery in hypnosis and guided meditations, harness flower power through Bach Flower Remedies, and give a nod to the elements in various shamanic traditions (and that’s just the short list!).
Below, we share a few fun, easy ways to get in touch with nature and nourish your soul at the same time...
Andrea Inauen, our resident social worker/counselor, and all-around infinite source of wellness wisdom, is a big fan of a simple yet powerful sunshine mindfulness exercise.
“As the weather gets warmer and the sunshine is ever-present, shining light on that integral question of what is important to you and how to get there can be a great step to finding greater joy and peace this season,” Andrea says.
She recommends finding a comfortable spot to sit that’s directly in the sunlight. As the brightness shines on you, re-ask yourself the age-old question: What is important to you? Jot down the first few things that come to mind without judging yourself or over-analyzing your answers. Next, ask yourself another important question: What has been occupying most of your time?
“Consider if this answer aligns with those things that are important to you. If yes, fantastic, but if not, what is one action you can do, or one thing can you move out of the way, to allow greater focus on a top priority that has until now been getting less attention?” Andrea says.
Before getting up, set your phone or timer for 60 seconds. Use that time to inhale as deeply as you can, hold the air for another moment, then exhale. As you release the old air, visualize some of the toxins/clutter that have occupied your heart and mind exiting your body. With each inhale, visualize the purity of clean air, the warmth and radiance of the sunlight, enter and fill you anew.
There’s something magical about the simple action of putting one foot in front of the other that stimulates creativity, reflection, and a sense of deeper peace. A walking meditation, also known as “meditation in motion,” is a simple yet profound way to reap these benefits and quite literally “ground” yourself.
It can be helpful to focus on the feeling of your feet contacting the ground with every step. Hone in deliberately on the lifting and moving of your feet, the breath moving through your body, or whatever your eyes are naturally drawn to. Hudson Healing Arts founder Beth O’Boyle says there’s no “right or wrong way” to embark on a walking meditation, but she does have one important recommendation: Leave your phone at home! Doing so gives your psyche a much-needed refresher and allows you to fully take in the beauty that surrounds you.
“It’s not about getting to a particular destination, but rather bringing the mind and body into sync. Just simply breathe, walk, and soak in the fresh air and sunshine,” Beth says. “The more you practice, even if just for a few minutes, the more the practice will grow on you.”
Plenty of Options
Both the sunshine mindfulness exercise and walking meditation are simple and free practices that harness the healing properties of nature. However, there are endless options awaiting you. A few more ideas...
Whatever the focus is, whether decluttering your mind or feeling better emotionally, remember that there are always options, and nature in particular offers an amazing abundance of opportunities for healing. Here’s to a wonderful, nature-filled summer!
Hannah Chenoweth is a Hoboken-based conference producer and freelance writer who enjoys covering all aspects of health and wellness.