I am fortunate to live near the water. When I take a walk, I try to pause for a few moments to take in the sights and sounds. I find that I feel calmer and at peace with myself even if I stop for just a few minutes. It’s not surprising. Studies have shown that just being in nature, especially near water, can have positive mental health benefits, such as reduced feelings of anxiety and depression.
I took a walk the other day. It was such a lovely day, so peaceful, warm and calm. I captured a minute of it on video.
If you’d like to learn how to be more mindful, or you’re already practicing, here’s a quick exercise on being mindful in nature. First, take a moment to read through the guided mindfulness exercise below, and then watch the video, paying attention to what you hear and see.
It’s important to know there’s no right or wrong way to be mindful. The purpose of mindfulness is to be present in the moment, with curiosity and without judgment. Some days, it’s harder to be mindful; other days you feel truly present. And that’s OK.
Mindfulness is not about eliminating your thoughts or cares. It’s not about pretending to be happy when you’re not. It’s about allowing yourself to be here, now, for this moment instead of being caught up in thinking, planning and worrying about past and future events.
When you watch the video, be in the moment. Here are some ways to do that:
- Notice the different sizes and shapes of the boats. What colors do you see?
- Try to pick out the different sounds that you hear. Can you hear the wind, the birds, the sail riggings, someone doing work on a boat or the dock? What else do you hear?
- Pay attention to movement. What do you notice about how the reflection of the boats and houses move on the water?
- If you were there, what smells might you notice?
- Finally, check in with your body. What are you feeling? Pay attention to any tingling, warmth, coolness, numbness, or discomfort. If you’re sitting, notice the contact of your back and bottom with the chair. Whether you’re sitting or standing, focus on your hands and try to soften your hands. Can you feel your feet on the floor? How about your toes? What sensations are you noticing?
Now I want you to click on the video above or watch the video here. Just allow yourself to be present in the moment and observe what arises. What catches your attention? How does your body feel? What thoughts do you notice? Can you feel your breath?
Coming Back To Presence
When you’re finished watching the video, take a few slow, deep breaths. Take a look around and notice what’s in the room in front of you. You’ve just spent a few minutes being mindful. It was that easy. It’s easy to be so busy, or caught up in thoughts, that you miss the things that are right in front of you.
If you’d like to bring more mindfulness into your daily life, try taking a few minutes each day to stop and notice your sensory input (sight, sound, smell, touch and taste) and your body’s sensations. Leave a comment below and me know how you do.