5 Ways To Find Stillness Through Nature
“May that which is still be that in which your mind delights”
Things have certainly been different these past few months. Life, as we knew it in February, was suddenly turned on its head in March. We were asked to shelter-in-place and, with it, learned to create a life centered around the home.
Social distancing suddenly meant spending more time with those you live with, learning to navigate school classes from home, and adjusting manners of working in new ways.
But there’s a silver lining in all of this change. We started having more family meals together, we mastered the art of baking bread, we found ways to connect remotely with those we love and miss, and we learned to make do with what we have.
In fact, we’ve never had a moment like this. The chance to live a slower and more contained life. In many ways, we’re learning to be more still. To live in the here and now, in the moment. And to really enjoy the simple things in life.
Stillness is a chance to find refuge in a sea of change. It’s the opportunity to find new perspectives and get a respite from the race that was life before.
And there’s no better way to understand stillness than learning from nature itself.
If you think about it, plants and trees are wonderful examples of stillness. They’re centered in one location, not moving. They grow roots and learn to adapt to the environment around them. They adjust and learn to thrive based on the resources available. They’re a metaphor for how we’re living our lives these days.
Spending time in nature is a chance to connect with its stillness.
We humans are wired to connect with nature. We have something called biophilia, a love for the natural world. And this connection makes us feel good and it improves our well-being.
When we spend time being still, we calm the noise in our mind and that, in turn, relaxes the body. Spending time being still helps relieve mental fatigue and thus reduces stress on the physical self.
Here are five ways to help you create stillness with the support of nature.
Lie on the ground and stare up at the trees - focus in on the patterns in the leaves and branches. These are fractals in nature that we humans are drawn to, and looking at them has been scientifically proven to relax us. In fact, it’s been found that looking at them can reduce our stress by as much as 60%.
Sit under a tree and close your eyes - focus in on your breath, inhaling and exhaling slowly and deeply while you let any distractions in your head float away. Listen in all directions, focusing in on the birds chirping and the breeze blowing past your ears. Discover new sounds in this stillness that you weren’t aware of before.
Stare closely at a plant and see its details - when you focus in on something, you become mindful in the moment. You become present and see only what’s in front of you, which clears all distractions in your head. Being still with a plant allows you to discover the intricacies of its being in a moment of time. It’s a chance to gain new perspectives and find things we may have in common.
Stand in a forest and breath in its presence - breathing is one of the easiest paths to our central nervous system, and to our brain. Taking a deep breath sends a signal to the brain to calm down and relax. Inhaling nature’s aromas, released by the phytoncides in the trees, gives a sense of openness and renewed energy that nourishes you.
Touch the leaves of flowers, of bushes, and the trunks of trees - in the stillness of the moment you literally, and physically, connect with nature. The flow of energy between you and the plant creates a synergy and connection that’s grounding. And this healing energy makes you feel balanced, centered, and strong. You find that nature’s rhythm becomes your rhythm, slow and steady. Still.