That time I lay in the woods for an hour…

Written by David, ReWild Yourself Team Member.

I plunge my face into the leaf litter on the forest floor and take in the earthy aroma: a sweet mix of damp decay and mossy greens. Have I gone mad? Quite possibly, but no more than most; stuck in a modern world that doesn’t quite make sense, worried too much about too many things, and rarely remembering to stop, look up and breathe. Down here, hidden in this hollow, under a canopy of gently swaying oaks, cheek pressed into the dark rich soil, I actually feel more normal than I have in a while.
Truth is, I woke up fairly miserable this morning. Sadly, it’s not uncommon, and frustratingly, it’s often not clear why, or what has caused it. As a result, I tend to focus on what I can control and change. Sometimes, that means a change of scene.

Practicing what we preach

Here at Voice for Nature, we spend a lot of time talking about the power of Nature Connection, but sometimes I forget to practice what I preach, and too long passes between good time spent with Nature.
So, the other day, wrapped myself up and headed to the nearest clearing of trees. I am fortunate to have this on my doorstep. ‘Nature Connectedness’ is the sort of thing that is easy to dismiss as a bit ‘flowery’, but there is an increasing body of evidence showing the restorative power of Nature, the value of access to nature, and crucially, the importance of feeling a connection with nature. In fact, there is a whole research group at the working on just this.

The benefits of a connection to Nature

Nature is a profound teacher and healer, and a sanctuary for those fortunate enough to access and connect with it. When you spend time in Nature, it almost instantly creates a physical change in you – reducing levels of stress, lowering blood pressure, helping you focus and concentrate – as well as a number of other tangible and well documented positive effects, especially around .
These benefits are amplified the more we feel a connection to Nature. Sadly, for many, Nature remains hidden or unnoticed, and their feelings of connection hang by a thread.

A Natural Health Service

Even amongst those who would consider themselves connected to Nature, like myself, it is all too easy to forget to nourish it, to go back to the source and refresh now and again. Perhaps we need to view it as less of a luxury and more of an essential part of our human existence, where we are part of Nature rather than separate and sanitised. That is why it is great to see moves towards in the NHS, especially in Wales, where I live.

With all of this in mind, back in the middle of my own mini wellbeing crisis, it is tempting to stay a little longer here in this earthy embrace, let a few more winter leaves fall and settle on my back. By the time I finally pull myself up and dust myself down, I have totally lost track of how long I have been here and realise I should probably get back – I’ve still got work to do after all! But now, at least, with moss in my hair and flecks of mud on my cheek, I feel in a slightly better state to tackle it.

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