5 Ways to Be Mindful While Enjoying the Outdoors

5 Ways to Be Mindful While Enjoying the Outdoors

Mindfulness is the practice of being fully and intentionally aware of the present moment. Sound simple? Well, it is… and it isn't. Research shows that practicing mindfulness has real effects on stress, mental health, and even your immunity. But finding those moments to be mindful isn't always easy. That's where spending time outdoors comes in.


Taking even a few minutes a day to disconnect from your busy life and spend time in nature can help you find moments of mindfulness. Try one of these five ideas to get back in touch with what's going on around you, as well as what's going on in your mind.


  1. Take a Walk: A mindfulness walk isn't power walking. Instead, it's an unhurried stroll where you take time to notice what your senses are telling you. Take a slow walk around an area you're familiar with and notice what you're feeling. Is the air warm or cool? What sounds do you hear? What colors do you see? Any aromas? Whenever your mind wanders away, gently bring it back to what's going on in the present moment. 


  1. Enjoy Your Breakfast: Eating can be a fantastic mindfulness activity. Take your morning smoothie to go and spend a few minutes in the sunshine. As you sip, focus on the flavors and textures. What do you taste? Strawberry? Beets? And between sips what do you see and hear? Take your time and experience your breakfast thoroughly. 


  1. Blow Bubbles: Time to let that inner child out! Blowing bubbles is a fantastic way to focus on your breathing, a key component of mindfulness. Take a container of bubbles outside and breathe in. As you exhale, blow a steady stream of bubbles. Focus on one bubble as it drifts away. When it pops, breathe and blow again. This can be a great way to get kids involved with mindfulness, as well as an engaging calming tactic for anyone who has difficulty calming their emotions. 


  1. Plant a Garden: Gardening is good for the soul. Doesn't matter if you have a bed in the backyard or a pot on your front steps: getting your hands dirty is a good thing. As you plant, focus on how the soil feels and smells. Look at your plants in detail, focusing on the ways the leaves come out of the stems. As you water, breathe deeply and watch the way the water arcs and falls out of your hose or watering can. Feeling stressed? Time to pull some weeds. Focus on removing negativity from your life as you pull out each plant. There, doesn't that feel better?


  1. Just Be: There's no need to get fancy. One of the best ways to be mindful outdoors is to just… be. Find a comfortable spot under a tree and focus on your breathing. Listen to the sounds around you, including your breath. Whenever your mind wanders away, simply bring it back to what you're doing. Between the fresh air, sun, and deep breathing, "doing nothing" will help you reach a state where you feel you can do anything. 

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