Mindfully wild - week one! - Thrive Mindfulness & Wellbeing

So it’s been a just over a week since we started the 30 days wild challenge set by the wildlife trust to get out in nature every day. Here at Thrive we thought this would be a great way to mix wildness with mindfulness!

So with that in mind here are some things I have learnt in the last week:

1- OK, so I knew this already but it’s worth highlighting, children are naturally mindful and respond so well to being in the outdoors. They seem to learn best outside and soak up information. My boys, who are 2 and 4 are great mindfulness teachers. They really enjoyed focusing in on the different elements of nature such as leaves, flowers and bugs, taking notice of the colours, textures, smells and sounds. They noticed what it sounded like to squelch through the mud (rather than worrying about getting mud on their trousers) and they collected grass and flowers to ‘feed the snails’ and chatted with them (rather than than worrying what others would think). They immersed themselves in nature, savouring each moment completely in the ‘being’ mode. Being there in the present!

2- I truly have so much to learn about nature but that’s ok. There is a brilliant community of like minded people all willing to share their knowledge and show you the way. But it’s also ok not to feel like you have to label everything. Spending time appreciating the colours and textures of nature is just as good as knowing what everything is!

3- When you slow down you really notice what’s around you. I have walked past the same patch of grass hundreds of times, yet never stopped to explore it. With my oldest boy in tow, we set off for a nature walk very close to our house. I usually just pass this area as at first glance there is not much to look at. But my boy stopped and walked through this patch of long grass and was excited to see hundreds of snails happily munching away. He noticed that the markings on their shells all look different and how beautiful the shells actually are. To see his wonder made me look at them afresh. In mindfulness we talk about the beginners mind. Seeing each moment as a new moment that’s never happened before, for example when we eat a raisin, we may have eaten a thousand raisins before but we have never eaten this particular one at this moment in time. So slowing down helps us to appreciate each moment for what it is, as Kabbat Zinn says the only moment we ever get is this one.

4- it feels good to be in nature and we do have time for it. I think we all know this but sometimes we forget how good it feels or believe we don’t have the time. When we feel stressed and our minds are full with stuff, it can be very helpful to get out in nature and soak it all up. It doesn’t matter if it’s raining or shining, in just being outdoors we can notice our environment, use our senses and stay in the present moment. This feel good factor often gives us the headspace to respond to stress in a healthy way. For example taking small nature breaks at work, stepping outside for a few minutes could really help you to refocus and be more effective in your role.

Next week I am hoping to take mindful meditation outdoors so will be reporting back on this.