Team BlogsMindfulness meets nature

“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out,  I found, was really going in”
John Muir


In our fast-paced, technology-driven world, finding moments of tranquillity and inner peace can be challenging. However, the answer to this may lie in something as simple as reconnecting with nature. Mindfulness in nature offers a respite from the daily hustle, allowing us to tap into the beauty and stillness that surrounds us. Let’s embark on a journey of mindfulness in nature and explore how it can enrich our lives.

The Symphony of Nature

When we step outside and immerse ourselves in nature, we are greeted with a symphony of sounds, sights, and sensations. The gentle rustling of leaves, the melodic chirping of birds, the caress of a soft breeze on our skin – these natural sensations encourage us to be present in the moment. By fully engaging our senses, we become more mindful, shifting our focus away from our worries and into the present experience.

The Art of Deep Breathing

As we wander through the woods, stroll along the shore, or hike up a mountain, we can use nature to deepen our mindfulness practice. Breathing exercises amidst the serene surroundings bring us into the present, grounding us in the beauty that surrounds us. Inhale deeply, absorbing the scent of flowers and trees; exhale slowly, releasing any tension or stress. Nature becomes our breathing partner, guiding us towards a sense of calm and balance.

Embracing Impermanence

Nature’s cycles of birth, growth, decay, and renewal remind us of the impermanence of all things. Trees shed their leaves, flowers bloom and wither, seasons change – yet the beauty persists. Mindfulness in nature teaches us to accept the transience of life gracefully, allowing us to let go of attachment and find peace in the ebb and flow of existence.

Disconnect to Reconnect

In a world where screens dominate our attention, nature offers an opportunity to disconnect from technology and reconnect with ourselves. Without the constant pings of notifications, we can fully immerse ourselves in the present moment. A mindful walk through a forest or a quiet moment by a lake encourages self-reflection and fosters a deeper understanding of our thoughts and emotions.

The Healing Power of Nature

Studies have shown that spending time in nature has numerous health benefits, both physically and mentally. Being outdoors reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and improves overall well-being. Mindfulness in nature amplifies these positive effects, as we become more attuned to the world around us, allowing nature’s healing powers to soothe our souls.

Gratitude for the Earth

Mindfulness in nature instils a profound sense of gratitude for the Earth’s gifts. We develop a heightened appreciation for the interconnectedness of all living beings and our dependence on the planet’s resources. This awareness can inspire us to adopt more eco-friendly habits, striving to protect and preserve the environment for future generations.


Embracing mindfulness in nature is a journey of self-discovery and inner peace. By connecting with the natural world, we can find solace from the chaos of modern life, grounding ourselves in the beauty and simplicity of the present moment.

Beyond its beautiful appeal, emerging research is shedding light on the remarkable benefits of combining mindfulness with the great outdoors. In this blog, we delve into the scientific evidence that underscores the profound healing effects of mindfulness in nature.


  1. Stress Reduction and Cortisol Levels: Numerous studies have demonstrated that spending time in nature while practicing mindfulness can significantly reduce stress levels and cortisol production. A study conducted by the University of Michigan revealed that participants who engaged in a nature-based mindfulness exercise experienced a significant decrease in cortisol levels, indicating a reduced stress response. The soothing sights and sounds of nature, combined with mindfulness techniques, create a synergy that calms the nervous system and promotes relaxation.
  2. Improved Mental Well-being: Research published in the journal “Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine” found that spending time in natural environments and engaging in mindfulness practices was associated with improved mental well-being and reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression. Nature’s ability to restore attention and provide a sense of tranquillity, when combined with mindfulness, nurtures emotional resilience and fosters a positive outlook on life.
  3. Enhanced Cognitive Function: A study published in “Psychological Science” investigated the impact of nature walks on cognitive function and found that participants who engaged in a nature walk while practicing mindfulness exhibited improved working memory and cognitive performance compared to those who walked in an urban environment. This suggests that the synergy between mindfulness and nature can enhance cognitive abilities, leading to clearer thinking and sharper focus.
  4. Strengthened Immune System: Preliminary research suggests that practicing mindfulness in a natural setting may contribute to a strengthened immune system. A study conducted by the University of Illinois found that individuals who spent time in nature while engaging in mindfulness exhibited an increase in natural killer cell activity, which plays a crucial role in immune defense against infections and cancer.
  5. Connection and Mind-Body Unity: Mindfulness in nature facilitates a deeper connection between the mind and body, fostering a sense of unity with the environment. A study published in “Frontiers in Psychology” explored the concept of “connectedness to nature” and its relationship with mindfulness. The findings revealed that individuals who reported higher levels of mindfulness also reported a stronger sense of connection to nature, emphasizing the reciprocal relationship between mindfulness and nature appreciation.


The convergence of mindfulness and nature is not merely a subjective sensation but is supported by a growing body of scientific research. From stress reduction and enhanced mental well-being to cognitive improvements and immune system support, the evidence highlights the transformative potential of combining mindfulness practices with the therapeutic embrace of nature.

With the support of a nature expert combined with our experienced tutors, in beautiful natural surroundings, we run Mindfulness in Nature Retreat Weekends:

15-17 September – Samye Ling, Dumfriesshire.

19-21 April 2024 – Samye Ling, Dumfriesshire.

Read how one journalist experienced Mindfulness in Nature at Samye Ling. 


  1. Kuo, M., & Taylor, A. F. (2004). A potential natural treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: Evidence from a national study. American Journal of Public Health, 94(9), 1580-1586.
  2. Kaplan, S. (1995). The restorative benefits of nature: Toward an integrative framework. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 15(3), 169-182.
  3. Bratman, G. N., Hamilton, J. P., & Daily, G. C. (2012). The impacts of nature experience on human cognitive function and mental health. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1249(1), 118-136.
  4. Li, Q., Morimoto, K., Kobayashi, M., Inagaki, H., Katsumata, M., Hirata, Y., … & Miyazaki, Y. (2008). Visiting a forest, but not a city, increases human natural killer activity and expression of anti-cancer proteins. International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology, 21(1), 117-127.
  5. Howell, A. J., Dopko, R. L., Passmore, H. A., & Buro, K. (2011). Nature connectedness: Associations with well-being and mindfulness. Personality and Individual Differences, 51(2), 166-171.