Hello Smiling Fox fam!
It’s been a busy few weeks for me here. My business is expanding and taking shape in ways I couldn’t have predicted when I started Smiling Fox in January. I continue to offer my mentoring sessions to children and youth aged 6 – 18, incorporating mindfulness meditation into my sessions. I am currently working a lot around academic and school anxiety, and enjoy using creative methods and traditional mindfulness techniques to encourage my kids to stop-breathe-take a minute to release their worries.
I have started a little mini-business – Kodie Batchelor: Your guide in Mentoring, Planning and Holistic Therapies – which is starting to encompass my newer roles; business review, planning and mentoring for small businesses, and training in integrated creative art therapies, meditation and human development. In 2022, I will be leading training in the Great Southern, Perth and Bunbury in courses through Willow Training College alongside my Smiling Fox roles.
So things are very busy, but varied!
Anyway, the reason for this post…
I’ve just come back from a week in the bush, solo, with no computer and a million books to read. I spent the week traversing the country-side, from Nannup to Augusta, Katanning to Albany and back again. I followed my heart’s calling, and made choices on the run. My ideal. I also got bogged, had a large tree crack and nearly fall on my cabin and had to jump over a tiger snake. This trip was about pushing my personal boundaries, because I’ve gotten a little isolated in recent months. I say no to invitations more than yes these days, and I get caught up in how people perceive me, especially around my job role (what exactly am I – a trainer, teacher, guide or planner?!) and my own self-image. So I really wanted to get some courage back and connect with myself in my ideal environment.
How does nature impact our wellbeing?
We know that the environment we surround ourselves can increase or decrease our stress, which in turn impacts our bodies. What you are seeing, hearing, experiencing at any moment is changing not only your mood, but how your nervous, endocrine, and immune systems are working. The stress of an unpleasant environment can cause you to feel anxious, or sad, or helpless. This in turn elevates your blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension and suppresses your immune system. A pleasing environment reverses that.
Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. It may even reduce mortality, which is interesting and kind of cool.
In addition, nature helps us cope with pain. Because we are genetically programmed to find trees, plants, water, and other nature elements engrossing, we are absorbed by nature scenes and distracted from our pain and discomfort.
One of the most intriguing areas of current research is the impact of nature on general wellbeing. In one study, 95% of those interviewed said their mood improved after spending time outside, changing from depressed, stressed, and anxious to more calm and balanced. Other studies show that time in nature or scenes of nature are associated with a positive mood, and psychological wellbeing, meaningfulness, and vitality.
Time in nature or viewing nature scenes increases our ability to pay attention. Because humans find nature interesting, we can naturally focus on what we are experiencing out in nature. This also provides a respite for our overactive minds, refreshing us for new tasks.
In another interesting area, Andrea Taylor’s research on children with ADHD and hyperactivity shows that time spent in nature increases their attention span later.
Time spent in nature connects us to each other and the larger world. This experience of connection may be explained by studies that used fMRI to measure brain activity. When participants viewed nature scenes, the parts of the brain associated with empathy and love lit up, but when they viewed urban scenes, the parts of the brain associated with fear and anxiety were activated. It appears as though nature inspires feelings that connect us to each other and our environment.
So there you go, nature works. If you’ve been feeling to urge to step outside and explore, I urge you to do so!
Till next time,
References taken from https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/how-does-nature-impact-our-wellbeing