For me, being connected with nature is absolutely essential to slow me down. From my earliest childhood memories, I’ve always had this magnetic pull to the natural world.
It’s where I find joy, rest, inspiration and healing. Its been my anchor through traumatic events in my life, relocations to different parts of the world and dealing with the daily challenges of living in such a fast-paced society. And nature is central to my approach in business where I help others to slow down and remember their true nature.
The thing is, it’s not always easy to slow down when you’re surrounded by the frantic pace and distractions of everyday life. And we rarely give ourselves permission to pause. But when you fully immerse yourself in natural surroundings, it’s much easier to let go of busy thoughts, worries or stresses, which numb our senses and leave us thoroughly disconnected from what’s important to us.
We’re so conditioned to the hustle and bustle, permanently connected to our phones, messages and 24/7 news, that many people find a slower pace a bit unnerving at first. That’s why I take people outside, using the power of nature to help people transition gently.
It doesn’t take much effort to create an environment, where you can give yourself permission to pause. By finding somewhere nearby in a garden, park, field or forest, even if it’s just for a few minutes, you can experience micropause magic. Look around you and see what you notice, where do your curious eyes take you? Close your eyes – and listen, what do you hear? Near and far, human, non-human, what are you enjoying? Notice the sensation of the breeze on your skin? Touch something near-by, the earth perhaps, notice the aroma, what does it bring?
These simple exercises will help you to awaken your senses, remembering your natural connection with nature and encouraging a deeper relationship. You’ll likely start to notice more, not only around you but within you. When you allow yourself time to slow right down and the opportunity to listen – your inner thoughts, emotions and dreams can be heard. In my work, this time for pause, self-awareness and reflection can guide people through huge changes in their lives, such as divorce, health issues or setting a new direction in their careers or business. When we slow down, we notice. When we notice, things become clearer. When we have a clear sense of direction, we can plan how to get there. It’s simple but incredibly powerful.
Being out in nature isn’t just a useful tool to create greater presence. There’s a huge amount of scientific research to show the positive impact nature has on our physical and mental wellbeing. And we’re discovering new links all the time to benefits such as reducing blood pressure, heart disease and inflammation as well as helping with mental health conditions such as low mood, depression and anxiety.
We know that trees send signals to each other above and below ground and that they release natural oils to protect themselves from disease. And we’re finding out more about how this influences human health too. That’s why I trained to become a Forest Therapy Guide alongside my coaching business, to help people remember their natural nature connection, enhancing people’s ability to be truly present in the moment and fall back in love with the earth, for the benefit of all who live here.
We know that slowing down is important for our wellbeing. I believe nature holds the key to helping us do that, while opening the door to a healthier and happier future for all.
Samantha Wright is a coach and forest therapy guide. If you would like to know more reach out at www.naturaledgecoachinguk.co.uk