Stepping Into Nature

Maria Morris Nature Viewing


Have you ever had a day when you’re all stressed up and nowhere to go?

I know I have, far too many times for my liking. And yet somehow, I still found a way through. But it was always tougher than I expected. I knew there had to be an easier way than just feeling sad all day.

You have a choice. You can continue being stressed, feeling rubbish and annoyed with yourself and the people around you, or you can do one easy thing that will make you feel good for the rest of the day.
Here’s how it works…
Did you know sorrow and joy are two sides of the same coin? One invariably leads to the other. In times of sorrow, sadness, or stress you’ll want to find your way to joy as fast as you can.
To begin with I go outside and get my “nature fix.”
For starters it only takes 6 minutes of being outside to get health benefits that last all week.
Benefits like…
  • Feeling calmer
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Feeling inspired
  • Lower hear rate
  • Being more creative
  • Feeling happier
Fact is, just 6 minutes of nature time makes you feel good for 7 days!
Anyhow, last Wednesday I was about to get my nature fix when I remembered Jules and Steph were hosting a stand at the Bridport Community Roadshow.
What makes them special is they are a Dorset based business called “Stepping Into Nature.” I just had to meet them.
I asked them what they do.
Almost immediately they both started speaking.
“One at a time please,” I interrupted.
They both went as quiet as church dust.
Then Jules said, “We deliver health and wellbeing benefits for Dorset ‘s oldest residents. They include those living with dementia. We use outstanding natural and cultural landscape to provide dementia friendly activities and sensory rich places to visit in Dorset.”
I was seriously impressed. Dementia is on the rise not just in Dorset and taking sufferers out into nature can only help them enjoy life more.
What a fantastic job Jules and Steph are doing with Stepping Into Nature.
And talking of stepping into nature there’s so much being outside can do for you. For example, being in nature opens all your five senses and “switches” on the right side of your brain.
Your creative, intuitive way of thinking and being.
Why would you want to switch the right side of your brain on?
One benefit is it can help you solve people problems by getting a different perspective on things.
Let’s say you’re involved in some sort of conflict with another person. What usually happens is your left, logical brain immediately comes up with a list of reasons why you’re right.
It automatically begins a train of thought that justifies your actions or what you said in that situation. This train of thought goes around and around and becomes a loop. And as that happens the feelings that go with those thoughts are most often hurt, anger and resentment.
Here’s the deal. You’ve now become trapped in the past.
Another way of looking at this is to say you’ve entered a maze and you can’t find your way out.

Avoiding the Maze

It’s as if you’ve just put your life on hold.
And all it took was just a tiny bit of injustice – any injustice – and there you are wondering around in a maze with no obvious way out.
The reason you’re trapped and stay there is you think on some level you believe life should treat you fairly.
But everyone knows life isn’t fair.
So, before I show you one way out of the maze let me just set the record straight.
Most wrongs people commit never do any lasting damage. If you could find a way to let go of the initial pain you could go on as if nothing much has happened.
You’d be happier instead of trying to be right.
By the way, if there is a booby prize in any important relationship – it’s this.
Being right.
Back to what I was saying…
Stepping Into Nature.
“Has anyone seen my compass, I’m lost without it.”
Your compass – the one that leads you out of the maze – is a change of mind.
You go stepping into nature and walk.  As you do you effortlessly go from left brain thinking to right brain thinking.
Which I like to call “The right brain for life.”
When you go for a walk you’ll be doing it in a mindful way that quickly releases any stress brought on by being trapped in the maze.
Let me be more specific…
Going for a Mindful Walk.
Begin walking and as you do become mindful of your posture. Are you upright or slouched forward?
How are your feet landing?
Are you falling forward?
Are you leaning back?
Most people don’t really know how to walk. Have you ever heard of a walking school?
Me neither.
When you begin to take notice of the way you walk you start moving with more focus and determination.
Let me share a secret with you.
Talk to your feet while you’re walking.
No, I haven’t lost the plot. (Not yet anyway.)
Try this. Say to your feet “heel to toe, heel to toe.” And see what that does to the way you walk.
The first thing you’ll notice is you’re no longer in the maze.
Now let’s keep it that way.
Next push off a little more with the ball of your feet. Power walkers do this all the time they’re moving.
(For more information on this see “Walking – the ultimate exercise for optimum health” by Andrew Weil M.D. and Mark Fenton.)
Next try flexing your calf muscles a little more. Bounce slightly as you walk.
Increase your speed. Your heart rate will speed up and that’s good.
(Please understand, I’m not a doctor so if you suspect you have any medical issues then seek advice before trying this.)
Now, think about your thigh muscles flexing. Just imagine how they are working right now.
If you tend to sit a lot, flexing your thighs will benefit you in so many ways.
You’ll also notice your hips opening as you move.
One thing I want to stress here is stand up straight as you walk. Move your shoulders back if you’re leaning forward.
Normally if there’s other people around they will begin to look at you differently because to them you’re looking more confident.
Another thing is you’re mind begins to shift as you walk with purpose.
Your thoughts change and become more upbeat.
Why is this happening?
Most of the time people walk around mindlessly. Before you weren’t noticing your body and now you are.
The truth is, when you walk around like this you’ll begin to feel more confident and your mood will improve.
Now stand taller. Imagine you’re a puppet and someone is pulling your strings tight as you walk.
Okay, let me repeat that.
You’ll feel more confident. Your mood will improve.
Keep going for just six minutes.
That’s all it takes.
When you’re done, check in with your feelings.
I’m willing to bet you’re out of the maze and feeling good about yourself.
Quite simply, this is much better than being stuck, feeling overwhelmed and stressed.
Feeling good about yourself is something I encourage you to practice every day.
When you look around my website you’ll find other useful resources to help you to feel good.
Something else I want to say before I finish up here.
You’ll soon notice after practising this mindful way of walking that even when you just stand up, you’ll be more upright – like a soldier.
Try stepping into nature like this for the next 30 days and you’ll never look back.
What you’ll find is when something that used to trigger you into going into the maze you’ll find your way out of it quicker than a hiccup.
You’ll go from stressed to being your best.
I’ll leave you with this quote.

Stepping Into Nature