Z is for Zen: mindfulness in nature

Tips for how to be mindful in nature, in turn improving physical and mental wellbeing

Elderly woman sitting on a bench in autumn park

When life seems chaotic, overwhelming and overstimulating, the ancient concept of Zen may help you find a sense of peace, calming awareness and oneness with the world.

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A branch of Buddhism with its roots in 7th-century China, Zen prompts us to seek more active awareness – and ultimately enlightenment – by using regular, disciplined meditation to cultivate a clearer mind and sharper perception.

Zen in nature
Zen in nature
Lynn Hatzius

Gardens, parks or local woodlands make the ideal meditation spaces. Take a few minutes every day to go outside, empty your mind and feel completely present in your breath and body, centred by the sounds of birdsong, the sight of dappled sunlight or the smell of grass after rain.

Night walking ©Getty
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Simply observe your thoughts and allow them to leave your mind as quickly as they arrived.