Tuning into Your Personal Connection with Urban Nature

Wild. Here.'s Nature Boost series is intended to offer readers simple ideas on how to easily and quickly connect with nature in your city.  Getting your daily and/or weekly "dose" of nature (also know as "Vitamin N") can be as simple as 15-20 minutes of "nature exposure" outdoors: in a park, under a tree or by the water.  (Even five minutes of nature provides benefits!)  A dose of nature doesn't require full immersion in a large forest or wild conservation area to provide you with that nature boost.  Health benefits from nature are as easy to receive right in our urban centres and the benefits can be reaped in even less time that you can imagine.

Benefits of Being Outside in Nature:
  • Less than a minute to restore attention
  • Six minutes to decrease stress levels
  • Twelve minutes can increase your co-operation
  • Fifteen minutes to lower depression
  • Twenty minutes outdoors will energize you as much as a cup of coffee
(See full list from Wild. Here.: Why Nature is Good For Us)

Getting our "nature boost" is made easier when we know what inspires us about nature and what pulls us outside.  The more we connect with these simple pleasures, the easier it becomes to make time for these nature pauses and breaks.  Nature offers different things to different people and even when you are out in the fresh air in the same spot as others, you may be appreciating different aspects of the same immersion in nature.

If you don't know what specific facets of urban nature you value, start asking yourself questions when you find yourself outdoors.

- What's your favourite part about being in nature?

- What do you notice or look for when you are outdoors?
- Which of your five senses enrich your green space experience the most?

- What objects offer the strongest connections and/or are you curious about?

Is it flora, fauna, stunning vistas, water features, inanimate objects such as rocks, etc.?
- What is the best part for you about being outside? 
- What is pulling you to stay out for just a little longer?

But don't look for quick answers, allow yourself to mull over them and just notice where your attention goes when you are outside.  The answers don't even need to come that day.

To slow things down, take some deep breaths, focus on each sense - what are you seeing, what are you hearing, what are you smelling, etc.

Let nature sink in and see what that connection means to you!

Enjoy your Nature Boost for today and stay tuned for more Nature Boost ideas!

All photos by Viliam Glazduri (InstagramFlickr500 px)

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