Tag Archives: nature

Spending Time in Nature

Listen to the whispers of your soulSpending time in nature can have numerous benefits for refreshing body, mind and soul.

Being in a natural and tranquil environment is conducive to reducing stress and anxiety. There is growing evidence that the sights, sounds, and smells of nature are likely to lower cortisol levels (a stress hormone) and promote a sense of calm and relaxation. This can lead to an improved overall mood and a refreshed state of mind.

When you take a break from the constant stimulation of modern life by being in nature, you allow your mind to unwind and recharge.

Time in nature has been linked to improved cognitive function, enhanced creativity, and increased attention span. It provides space for you to experience a mental reset that helps you think more clearly and problem-solve effectively.

Furthermore, spending time in nature fosters a sense of connection to your surrounds, which can be spiritually uplifting. This also promotes feelings of well-being, contentment, and happiness.

tiny flowerMany people find solace and a sense of purpose when they spend time outdoors, whether it’s hiking in the mountains, strolling in a park, or simply sitting under a shady tree. As an aside, exercise also helps to lower your cortisol levels and manage your stress.

There is always something to observe.  You may find yourself cloud watching or following an insect as it goes about its business. Perhaps even the tiniest flower or an intriguing rock may take your interest. You may even find yourself listening to the various sounds, such as the rustling of leaves in a gentle wind or nature’s orchestra – the birds.

Overall, spending time in nature offers a valuable opportunity to disconnect from the demands of daily life, reconnect with yourself, and refresh your soul, leading to improved mental and emotional well-being.

Watching Clouds disappear

Watching clouds disappear over the weekend was a calming and beautiful experience. One moment a cloud was there, changing shape from what almost looked like a question mark to faint wisps which quickly disappeared.

If you are a seasoned cloud watcher you would already be aware that they are constantly changing shape and moving through the sky due to the dynamics of the atmosphere

The “question mark” cloud led to thoughts on how clouds either change shape or disappear.

Evaporation: Clouds are formed when water vapour in the atmosphere condenses into tiny water droplets or ice crystals around dust particles. As the air temperature and humidity change, these droplets or crystals may start to evaporate back into water vapour.

Changing Shape: Clouds can change shape rapidly. One moment you might see dragons in the sky that change into soft pillows of serenity. The next moment could see the cloud slowly thinning out or breaking apart into smaller wisps as the water droplets or ice crystals within it evaporate.

Movement: Clouds are not stationary; they are carried by the wind. So, as you watch a cloud disappear, it may also be drifting across the sky. This is also a very useful metaphor for thoughts that intrude during meditation sessions. Just allow those thoughts to drift away to the horizon…

Colours: The colours of the cloud as it disappears can be quite fascinating. During sunrise or sunset, clouds may take on vibrant hues as the sunlight scatters and refracts through them. I’m always on the lookout for a spectacular sunset and never tire of seeing them.

Overall, I have found that watching clouds disappear or change shape can be a meditative and reflective activity. It allows me to appreciate the ever-changing nature of the sky and the environment.  It also provides a sense of tranquility and connection to nature.

So, find a comfortable spot, look up at the sky, and enjoy the beauty of clouds as they transform and disappear before your eyes.


What does nurture mean to you?

Is it the care and protection of those you love or is it the nourishment of your own body and soul?

Pondering the nurture versus nature debate, it is interesting to consider whether our genetic inheritance contributes more than environmental concerns. We can nurture our bodies with adequate clean water and fresh, wholesome food. Likewise, we can nurture our souls with taking time out to appreciate nature – literally stopping to smell the roses!

With ongoing studies in epigenetics showing that our genes can adapt as they interact with environmental factors, the nurture versus nature conversation becomes more complex.  Behavioural epigenetics studies have shown that it is possible that behaviours can be imprinted into genes and these imprinted genes are handed down through several generations. Studies done on identical twins, who have the same genes can exhibit very different behaviours even when brought up the same way.  Social and emotional conditioning as well as environmental factors may well be part of the nurture versus nature conundrum.

I find it interesting to reflect on what I may have inherited from my forebears.  Apart from the likelihood that I may have a genetic predisposition to the diseases that my ancestors suffered from, I have the opportunity to make changes by ensuring that strong environmental factors, such as diet and lifestyle choices offer the opportunity to imprint on my genetic makeup.

Other factors to consider, especially in recent times, are the effects of trauma on the brain. Repeated trauma will change the brain, affecting how we learn and process new information.

From an educational viewpoint, a stressed student is one that is likely to have some difficulty in retaining information.  It is unfortunate that negative experiences are far stronger than pleasant ones and it can be expected that sustained or prolonged traumatic experiences are likely to be retained in both our brain circuits and as a genetic change. I’m sure my teaching colleagues will attest to this, an anxious parent is most likely to produce an anxious child. Nurturing then becomes something to consider within our educational system.

Creating as many enjoyable experiences such as regular meditation will help to overcome the negative experiences and imprint a more positive attitude or behaviour both in our brains and our genes.