2 minute read
Prescribe yourself a dose of nature
1. Slow down
Walking outside is an opportunity to take down the pace a few notches. Stroll, pause, breathe… Use all your senses to appreciate the beauty of the natural world around you.
2. If possible, head for running water
Fresh, flowing water creates an abundance of negative ions, which are said to have a natural antidepressant effect on human beings.
3. Listen properly
If you are walking with someone else, let them know that you are really listening to them, rather than just batting conversation back and forth. Practise listening skills, such as clarifying a complex point, or repeating words back to them. ‘That might sound a little contrived,’ says Dunne. ‘But, the more we do it, the more we will hear what people have to say – rather than simply responding to what they have said. Learning this valuable skill is great for our companion, and it’s beneficial for us, too.’
4. Turn off your phone
If this is a step too far, at least put it in your pocket and leave it there. This should be a time to be truly present in the moment, so don’t be tempted to post pictures to Instagram or check WhatsApp!
5. Make it a habit
Just like exercise, if you start making a conscious effort to go out into green spaces regularly, you will quickly see the benefits. And the more you do it, the more you will want to do it.
For more from ecotherapist Malachy Dunne, visit malachydunnecounselling.co.uk