A to Z of mindfulness in nature

In our new series – the A to Z of mindfulness – we look at the various ways that nature and the countryside can be used to help improve physical and mental wellbeing

Sitting woman in her back, in the middle of the forest, watching the sunset alone.

A is for Awareness

A is for Awareness
A is for Awareness ©Lynn Hatzius

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. Find out more.


B is for Bivouacking

B is for Bivouacking
B is for Bivouacking ©Lynn Hatzius

On a clear spring night, few things can beat the simplicity of falling asleep beneath the stars. It’s something we’ve done since our time on Earth began and, out in the open, as shooting stars cut the sky and owls call, that sense of a less complicated time is stirred. Find out more here.

C is for Collecting

C is for Collecting
C is for Collecting ©Lynn Hatzius
Sometimes a simple, absorbing activity can transform your mental state to a pinpoint of calm. Setting yourself a gentle collecting mission on each walk can help you focus on the outside world, taking your attention away from any inner anxieties and ‘things to do’ lists. Find out more about collecting natural items.

D is for Drawing

D is for Drawing
D is for Drawing ©Lynn Hatzius

Drawing can be as simple or complicated as you like, but all it really requires is a piece of paper and a pencil. Find a quiet moment in your day to focus on sketching a landscape or object, relaxing your breathing as you draw. Find out more.

E is for Exercise

E is for Exercise
E is for Exercise ©Lynn Hatzius

Regular exercise to improve physical health is a given. But taking regular walks to improve mental health is not so embedded. The simple act of placing one foot after another creates a rhythm with your breathing that relaxes your mind, helping you to cope with stress and solve problems. Find out more.

F is for Forest Bathing

F is for forest bathing
F is for forest bathing ©Lynn Hatzius

Also known as forest therapy, forest bathing encourages frazzled urbanites to slow down, relax and engage their senses with the woodland around them: the sound of the wind in the leaves, the fragrance of fern and fungus, the play of dappled light on the forest floor. Find out more.

G is for Gardening and Growing

G is for Gardening
G is for Gardening ©Lynn Hatzius

The simple process of tilling soil, creating fertile beds for flowers and vegetables, is deeply satisfying. The repetitive manual labour keeps the mind focused on the present – and also frees it to be creative or to work out problems against a backdrop of rhythmic weeding and digging. Find out more.

H is for Hammock

H is for Hammock
H is for Hammock ©Lynn Hatzius

Sit back, relax and enjoy the world around you – time alone in a hammock beneath the trees can help you to be more present. Find out more.

I is for Idle

I is for idle
I is for idle ©©Lynn Hatzius

Giving a bit of time to ourselves to mooch and peruse is proven to reduce stress and improve self esteem as you take control of your time. Try not to set a time limit or a hard target on your next walk; linger over that second cup of tea in the café; gaze into a stream for that extra hour; and simply sit in the garden rather than fussing over weeds and watering. Find out more

J is for Journaling

Journaling is good for the mind
J is for Journaling ©Lynn Hatzius

Journaling is accessible for everyone; all you need is a notebook and a pen. Scientists say it can reduce stress, anxiety and even boost the immune system. This simple activity can be done on a walk, while sitting at a peaceful vista or in the garden, and will help you to appreciate your surroundings and the emotions they evoke. Find out more.

K is for Knitting

K is for Knitting - mindfulness in nature
K is for Knitting ©Lynn Hatzius

People have been knitting for centuries, and those who knit say they find it easier to stay in the moment, relax and unwind. To achieve a state of calm, stick to an easy pattern. So why not try knitting outdoors in an attempt to feel more present? Find out more.

L is for Listening

Listening, mindfulness in nature
L is for Listening ©Lynn Hatzius

We live in a very visual society, bombarded with advertising images and social media photo apps. We sometimes forget that our other senses can help us understand the world. Find out more.


Main image ©Getty