You can still enjoy the happiness of nature even if you live in the city; here are 7 ways!

You can still enjoy the happiness of nature even if you live in the city; here are 7 ways!

Research has found a strong link between time spent in nature and happiness.

Happiness can come from bushwalking, exercising outside, or just spending time in the sun relaxing.

But for many who live in large cities, this form of happiness can seem hard to access; but it’s nowhere near impossible! So if you’re short on ideas, here are some suggestions to consider…

via Forbes by Joni Sweet

The concept of nature therapy has a certain heaviness to it. Sure, getting outside feels good, but most of us don’t have the time or money to go forest bathing on the reg or take multi-day mindfulness treks in the mountains.

And let’s get real: In our increasingly screen-driven, urban lives, we’re lucky if we even see a tree every day, let alone have the opportunity for a full-blown mindfulness experience in the “Great Outdoors.” Should we write off nature therapy as one of those “I wish” sort of practices?

Not according to Micah Mortali, director of the School of Mindful Outdoor Leadership at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. The benefits of nature therapy are just too compelling to ignore, he said.

Studies have shown that exercising outdoors can improve your mood and self-esteem, living near urban green spaces is associated with better mental health and spending time in forests positively stimulates the immune system.

So how can you reap the benefits of nature therapy when you live in a concrete jungle? Shift your thinking: It’s not about planning an epic trip to the world’s most beautiful natural settings—it’s just about getting outside, wherever you are. A park, a garden or even a single tree can deliver a heavy dose of nature therapy into your life, as long as you bring a sense of purpose to the experience.  Here’s how to practice mindfulness outdoors, wherever you are.

Eat lunch near a fountain

Still eating lunch at your desk? It’s time to switch things up. Mortali recommends swinging by a fountain near your office to enjoy a little nature therapy during the workday.

“Fountains have that element of water, and they’re incredibly powerful for meditation,” he said. “Treat a fountain like you would a stream or ocean, and sit near it and listen to the language of the water. Slow your breathing and bring awareness to the sound of the water for five or 10 minutes. Water has a very powerful way of quieting the monkey mind.”

Get fascinated by nature

If you want your health to benefit from nature, it’s not enough to just take a quick glance at something green. You have to truly observe nature and find something fascinating about it to improve your focus and productivity, said Mortali.

“Utilizing fascination attention is when you are simply looking at something and are fascinated by it. It’s not about trying to focus on something simply because it’s beautiful—you have to get fascinated,” he said. “Gazing out at trees outside your window as the wind is blowing through, or water that’s moving in an ocean or lake is easy on the eyes. Just a few minutes of that kind of attention is very restorative.”

…keep reading the full & original article HERE