Self, Health And Wellness

5 Easy Ways To Reconnect With Nature & Improve Your Wellbeing

Photo: J. Meier via Unsplash
How To Be Happier And Improve Your Mental Health By Reconnecting With Nature

By Alice Barker

Do you ever find your days passing you by in a blur of noise, notifications, and neon?

Do you barely see your loved ones?

Do you stuff a sandwich down your throat at lunchtime and then stare out of your classroom or office window wishing you were somewhere else?

Does your well-being suffer?

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If so, don’t worry - we’ve all been there.

But, when you stare out of the window, where do you go?

Do you envision the mall or traffic or do you envision a sandy white beach, where you lie in a bikini watching the waves crash whilst simultaneously being fed strawberries by Jason Momoa?

While your daydream fantasies might seem a bit far-fetched (sorry, imaginary Jason), they could represent a longing for a much more basic desire: the need to get back to nature.

Here are some ways to reconnect to the world around you and improve your well-being.

1. Put birdseed out

While this might seem like an almost passive action, it doesn’t have to be.

Sprinkle out the seed in a place that’s nearby, then find a comfy seat, and wait and watch for the diners to arrive.

Then, if the birds start making themselves known, make a note of the ones you see.

That way, you can educate yourself about what birds live in your area at the same time and who knows, you might even spot a rare one!

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2. Go for a walk and pay attention to the things you see

This activity enables you to truly take note of the things that you don’t notice when you’re busy.

Start walking – it doesn’t matter where – and pay close attention to the details.

Is there a particularly beautiful plant in a neighbor’s garden?

Does a tree have odd-shaped leaves or striking colors?

If you’re in an urban environment, is there interesting graffiti?

Does the light dance on a building in a unique way?

3. Go outside and close your eyes for thirty seconds and just listen

This is a good exercise for when you simply don’t have much time to spare, but want to improve your well-being.

By closing your eyes, however, you’re closing off one of your strongest senses: sight, a sense which can so often rule our decision-making and judgements.

Hence, by closing your eyes, you’re cutting yourself off from the everyday chaos of visual input and focusing more on the one-of-a-kind symphony that each sound contributes to.

Looking at the bigger picture is good, but sometimes it’s calming to focus on the details, too.

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4. Look outside your window and make a list of all the colors you can see

When you spend every day sitting at a computer, it’s easy to see the world as overwhelmingly grey.

However, look outside for a moment and you’ll realize that this is simply not the case.

By noting all the colors you can see, you’ll soon see that the world is rich and vivid, even when your surroundings may seem dull or unextraordinary.

5. Listen to your heartbeat whilst thinking about the fact that every other creature has one, too

There’s nothing like a quick exercise in sonder to make you extremely thankful for the life you have.

First coined in 2012 by John Koenig, Wiktionary describes the term as ‘the profound feeling of realizing that everyone, including strangers passed in the street, has a life as complex as one’s own, which they are constantly living despite one’s personal lack of awareness of it.’

Put simply: even if you don’t understand or know what might be going on in the life of a fellow living creature, they are still alive, with a life just as complex as yours.

Reflect on this and begin to feel yourself become connected with all the living things you share the earth with.

At the end of the day, nothing will completely stop our busy, 21st-century lives.

We will always have appointments to go to, friends to call, and Funkos to collect, too.

However, if we just take stock once in a while and remind ourselves that we are a part of this planet, then we might find ourselves in a calmer and happier state of mind and well-being.

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Alice Barker is a writer who focuses on health and wellness, self-care, and self-love. For more of her self-care content, visit her author profile on Unwritten.

This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.