How being more aware in nature can improve your physical and mental health?

Most of us enjoy being out and about in the countryside but, in the drama of our everyday lives, we often find it difficult to switch off, the humdrum of our inner monologue ever present.


The importance of awareness

One of the most important facets of mindfulness is awareness, defined as a knowledge of something at the present time. And one of the easiest ways to be present is to focus on the small things, those very special notes of nature that are all around us, all the time.

Awareness and mindfulness
A is for Awareness ©Lynn Hatzius

Focusing on the small

When you’re next outside, find a quiet spot and focus on something close to you; a blackbird foraging among decaying beech leaves, a dew-spangled spider web, or the furrowed trunk of an old, gnarled oak tree.

Close up of spider web in mountain forest with sun rising in background
Watch a spider build its web ©Getty

Rest your hand on the bark and feel its rough surface. Look closely at each groove. Put your ear to the trunk and listen as it creaks. Smell it. Then gaze into its eaves and watch the shifting shapes and colours sway though its boughs.

Sherwood Forest

With any luck, you’ll stir some time later and realise that, for those blissful moments, you were aware.

Tree bark background
Noticing the intricacies of the oak's trunk can help to emit the humdrum of our everyday lives ©Getty

Why everyone can benefit from heading into the woods