7 Easily Doable Ways to Feel Happier and Find Calm through Nature & Connection! April 22, 2021 Reading Time: 6 min Share3TweetPinShare3 SharesHave you noticed how much calmer you feel after spending time in a park or a walk in the woods? Do you, like me, get excited when you see a new flower bud that promises spring (or summer), or spot that bird singing it’s little heart out to attract a mate? This is our last article loosely centred around Earth Day and it looks at connection – to nature, others around the world and ourselves. Because here at Fierce Kindness, we believe connection is key for both happiness and also to find calm or “Inner Peace”. Here are the 3 key types of connection we need: Connection to ourselves: allows us to discover who we are – what matters most, our needs, values, beliefs and more. This helps us live meaningful lives – and avoid inner conflicts. Connection to others: has not only been key to the survival of the human species, but we need meaningful relationships with others to be happy. Connection to something bigger than ourselves: helps us avoid ennui (boredom with life) and feel inspired about our lives. We need things to contribute to – and marvel or wonder at. So this week I’m sharing 7 ways to get closer to inner peace and calm through connection with ourselves, others – and nature. Here are 7 Ways to Find Inner Peace, Calm and Deeper Connection 1) Hug a tree Have you ever hugged a big tree? Did you imagine, as you hugged it, how many hundreds of years it’s been alive? How far it reaches into the sky? How deeply it’s rooted into the earth? Did you feel the rough yet soft bark? Did you think how slowly a leaf bud unfurls? A tree grows slowly and steadily according to the sun and water available. It doesn’t worry what others think or care how it looks or what it’s achieved. It doesn’t try to impress, it does everything in perfect balance and in its own sweet time. I bet that after reading you already feel a little bit calmer… Which means you don’t even need to hug an actual tree you can just imagine – or remember – hugging a tree. Hugging a tree is beautifully satisfying because it connects us – both mentally and physically – to something bigger than ourselves and reminds us we’re part of nature! 2) Put up a calming nature picture you’ll see often There is research that shows just looking at nature is calming. So, especially if you can’t go out much at the moment or you’re sitting at a desk all day, find a picture of nature (preferably with lots of green in it) that you find soothing and place it somewhere you’ll see it often. This could be directly in front of your desk, your desktop background, in a bathroom (eg. opposite where you sit on the toilet) or somewhere else. Simply choose an image you find peaceful, and be sure to look at it regularly to reconnect with calm and the natural world! 3) Do it outside The pandemic has changed life for everyone. The biggest thing for many of us that we’re not able to spend time with friends. But while many of us are still (largely) stuck inside, as summer approaches we’ll likely be able to do more outside. Why not make this your new “go to” phrase: Let’s do _____ outside! Simply add the word “outside” to the end of whatever you plan on doing. Could you have bookclub, eat breakfast, play a board game, sleep, fix the light, make jam, sew on that button, watch a movie, paint your nails? Some things will work, and some won’t, but who knows what might happen – or what you might end up doing instead? Getting creative like this is good for our brains. And spending time with friends is good for our soul, so try using “outside” as an opportunity to connect with others in new ways. 4) Walk barefoot in the grass This is best done on a sunny day! First, find somewhere where it’s safe to walk barefoot (no broken glass etc!), then take off your socks and shoes and connect with the grass – and planet – through your feet. Now use all your senses. Feel the grass underneath your feet. Imagine for a moment that you have roots extending deep into the ground, connecting you to the centre of the earth! Now feel the sunshine on your face or your back. Can you feel a breeze on your skin or ruffling your hair or clothes? Are you warm or cool? Is there dew or dampness in the air or in the grass beneath your feet? Using all your senses like this takes you out of thought, and into your body. It’s calming – and connects you back to your self. 5) Get awed up! Inspire yourself with awe: it’s a stress reducer and mood booster. When we feel awe and wonder, the inspiration we feel carries over to all areas of our lives. Awe is also calming: it makes us feel small (in a good way), worry less, feel more spacious – and lastly that we’re part of something larger than ourselves. Although awe can’t be forced, there are many ways to open up to awe and wonder. And it all starts with curiosity. Let your childlike questions bubble up: As you look at the night sky, why do stars twinkle? Grab a poppy seed from the kitchen. How does this tiny, hard, black lump (used as a topping for our muffins and salads) turn into a beautiful flower? How does it know how and when to grow? And how does is all the information it needs stored in that little blob in your hand? Listen to some music you love. Consider: What is music anyway? Why is it pleasing? What makes a tune so catchy? Next time you hear a thunderstorm, ask, “How is thunder made?” or “What is lightning?” Consider a piece of architecture you admire: the Eiffel Tower, a cathedral, the Statue of Liberty or something else. How on earth did they build it? How long did it take? How many people? Allow yourself to really wonder how these things happen or happened! So much in our world is literally incredible when you really think about it. The awe we feel as a result connects us to our deepest innermost self, as well as helping us feel expansive and connected to others. Take it a step further: Thinking back to that poppy seed. If growing a plant is incredible – what does that make you… ? 6) Connect the dots! In Buddhism there’s an exercise to develop compassion, where we consider how connected we all are to each other. For example: Your Food: Think about how the food you’re eating was planted, cared for, harvested, processed (if applicable), transported, set out in the supermarket and sold to you. Now consider each of the different “whos” involved along the way. Where are they in the world? What is their life like? Clothing: What is it made of? Where did the source material come from? How was it made into fabric? How was it coloured or patterned? Who designed the item? Sewed it? Who packaged it, loaded it, transported it? Put it out for sale? Who did you buy it from? How and where do each of these people live? You can do this exercise with any ‘thing’ at all. As you do it, try to really see what it feels like as you consider how many people were involved in getting this ‘thing’ to you. The world is a lot smaller and more connected than we realise. You are one human amongst 7 billion – yet, how many lives have interacted with yours through the things you use, buy and eat? 7) Observe nature over time… Sitting quietly, doing nothing, Spring comes, and the grass grows, by itself. Haiku by Matsuo Bashō Once we’re outdoors, even in cities, we can find nature. Have you got somewhere – a local park, walk or urban planting – where you could go back to the same spot (whether it’s daily, weekly or monthly), and notice what’s changed each time? For example my hubbie and I visit a small pond regularly and notice what’s changed. The frogs, the weeds, the pollen accumulating on the surface of the water from nearby maple trees (food for the tadpoles!), the buds on the weeping willow, the flowers on the native flowering currant. The closer we look, the more we see! Even if it’s just a tiny urban park, notice what the tree/s are doing. Are the branches bare, or do they have leaves, flowers, seeds? What are the birds, bugs or flowers doing? How wet or dry is the ground? Are there any fungi? Ants? Is the grass growing yet? Noticing the changing of the seasons, tiny details, helps us slow down and remember our innate connection with nature – and how each of us also changes slowly over time. Wrap-up Nature gives us the opportunity to settle into ourselves, be fully present and let go of all our human-created problems and strivings. Our lives are so busy that we’re no longer connected to ourselves. And many of us have lost touch with the possibilities and wonder of our larger world and our belongingness with nature. Yet to be happy, we need connection: to ourselves, other people and our larger world. And to find inner peace we need to be connected to ourselves – and accept whatever is happening, wherever we are. Nature provides us with endless opportunities to increase our connection – on every level. What will you do to increase your connection with nature? Share your ideas – or action – in the comments below! Change the world. Start with you! If you liked this article on connecting more deeply, you may also like: For Earth Day 2021: Hope is a Muscle… What is Voluntary Simplicity? 10 Easy Ways to Live a Simpler, Kinder Life! How to Forest Bathe Image of Moon, meadow and Flowers by spirit111 via Pixabay Image of Man hugging tree by Mojpe via Pixabay Image of Child running barefoot in grass by ZaydaC via Pixabay Image of Friends playing backgammon outside by Charly_7777 via Pixabay Image of People all connected in Flower Shape by geralt via Pixabay Image of Looking at the milky way by Free-Photos via Pixabay Image of Trees through the seasons by Mihai Andritoiu via Shutterstock Share3TweetPinShare3 Shares 2 Comments Kitty Koniali April 25, 2021 Such inspired, inspiring and wise advice…one of the best articles I’ve read on connecting with nature… Reply Emma-Louise Elsey April 26, 2021 Dear Kitty, so glad you liked the article <3 Thank-you so much for saying so 🙂 Emma-Louise x Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.