Do you ever feel like the world is spinning too fast? Often, life feels rushed due to the advancement of technology, lightning-fast internet, and unlimited access to information. These are all great things, but moderation is key. Overstimulation from screens and technology can lead to stress, anxiety and feeling overwhelmed. We can find it hard to focus when it feels like we’re being pulled in all directions by everyday stressors. Let’s consider a healthy coping strategy for this condition. Sometimes it’s necessary to find ways to reground and refresh, ready to tackle the next challenge at hand. My proposed solution is a “Mindful Meander through a Meadow.”
For those who might be unfamiliar, there is a phrase, “Shinrin-Yoku” coined by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. In English, this roughly translates to, “forest bathing.” The idea is to engage with every perceivable aspect of the forest with all our senses; a mindful walk through the woods if you will.
The next time you take a walk through a meadow, make a conscious effort to engage all your senses—be fully present where you are at that moment. Breathe in and taste the crisp air. Smell the minty fresh fragrance of the Pycnanthemum or Monarda leaves. Look across the horizon and admire the fluorescent orange flowers of Asclepias tuberosa or the fuchsia wisps of Liatris spicata blooms. Reach out and touch soft blades of warm season grasses and watch as they dance in the breeze. Close your eyes and listen to the gentle hum of bees bouncing from blossom to blossom as they collect pollen and nectar to shepherd the next generation of both insects and flowers.
There are no seasonal limitations to this practice. The silence of snow can be even more calming. Watch snowflakes twist and flip down from the sky and stick their landing on your favorite seed head, left unmowed for the birds’ winter snack.
Mindful walks outdoors can perform wonders for your psyche and physical well-being. You may feel more in tune with the natural world you are a part of that operates independently of technology and artificial stress we live with. It’s enlightening and engaging to remember where we came from.
Take time out of your busy schedule for a “Mindful Meander through a Meadow” and let me know how it makes you feel!