Just empty your mind, and breathe in the fresh air.
Meditation has been proven over and over again to benefit the mind and body. Multiple studies have found that, when a person practices meditation, they are more likely to have a better self-image, have a longer attention span, manage stress and anxiety, improve their quality of sleep, and may even control pain.
It is relatively easy to start. There is no requirement for you to wear special clothing or use a special device. All you need is a quiet place to sit or lie and, most importantly, the willingness to put your phone down for a few minutes and temporarily forget about your worries.
Meditation can significantly change your life.
Meditation in the Great Outdoors
The positive impacts of meditation on your mental and physical health can be further increased by going outside. There is a reason why many meditation retreats occur in mountains or forests. Meditation, coupled with the sights and sounds of nature, is magical.
You do not have to fly to Nepal or Indonesia to experience the benefits of outdoor meditation. It can be done right at home. This is the perfect reason to proceed with building a patio or finally tending to your backyard. You will have the perfect space to perform outdoor meditation regularly without leaving the comforts and safety of your own home.
If you do not have a space at home, you can also try to meditate in a public park, too. However, be warned. You likely will be interrupted at least a few times. You will need to pack a lot of patience
But, where you meditate is not important. As long as you are around nature, you can expect to reap the benefits.
Nature Aids in Concentration
Beginners may benefit the most from outdoor meditation. Since the activity calls for stillness and emptying the mind, many people struggle. They often find their thoughts wandering toward what they want to do next or thinking about memory.
With regular practice, meditation will become easier and more relaxing, which is what the exercise intends. However, newbies can get extra help by being outside.
Previous research had proven that exposure to nature can improve concentration. One study recruited participants and divided them into three groups: one walked in nature, another walked in a city, and the rest were asked to relax. After the excursion, the participants were asked to complete a proofreading test and, unsurprisingly, the group that walked in nature performed the best.
Being in nature alone can improve concentration while you meditate. That might be why many people listen to the sound of a river bubbling or the pitter-patter of the falling rain to focus on the task at hand. Hearing the sounds of birds or the wind could immediately lull you deep into a headspace where you can remain in the present and be free from your stressors.
Green is Good
Aside from the sound, nature surrounds you with green. Green is good for the brain. The color green has the power to improve the brain’s functioning and even physical well-being.
In one study, researchers discovered that patients who stayed in hospital rooms where they have a window view of trees outside had an easier time recovering from their ailment. They also were out of the hospital faster, experienced fewer complications, and needed to take less pain medication compared to those who saw a blank wall from their window.
Another study found that viewing photos of nature reduce anxiety and stress among patients who were about to undergo heart surgery. They also needed less pain medication after seeing images of trees and water.
Bathing in the Sunlight
In addition, meditating outdoors is an excuse to, well, step out of your door. American adults spend the majority of their lives indoors which means that so many people are not getting enough doses of vitamin D, a nutrient essential not just for strong bones and immune systems, but can affect the mood, too.
Exposure to sunlight has been proven to trigger the release of serotonin, a hormone associated with an overall better mood. The presence of serotonin in your brain can make you feel calm and focused — two things that people want from practicing meditation.
Being outdoors can further enhance the many wonderful things that regularly practicing meditation can do for your mind and body. It can help a beginner concentrate, lower levels of stress and anxiety, and can improve one’s physical well-being.
Of course, everyone has their own preferences. Although the benefits of outdoor meditation are numerous, you can still reap the positive effects of regularly practicing meditation whether you do it in nature or inside your home.