Walking in woodland can help to quieten the mind

Finding time for ‘Me time’, getting away from it all, is easier said than done given the pace of life many of us seem to lead these days. I don’t know about you, but I find it very difficult to stop my mind from continually whirring away on multiple topics, simultaneously, during my day at the office or while supposedly relaxing at home!

All the thinking we do about things that need to be done, situations that need to be attended to, problems requiring solutions can, frankly, be exhausting.. Thoughts crowd in on one one another, the mind flitting here to there and back again. it’s no wonder we can experience feelings of physical exhaustion brought about by mental overload.

Iblue bracket fungit’s recommended that going for a walk is a good way to slow down the brain, but I find I still have a tendency to think about the list of things I have to do back at the office. Basically, I’m on auto-pilot and not in the ‘present moment’ at all.

The one place I have found that has an uncanny effect on my ability to slow down and focus is in the wood. I can assert, from first hand experience, that walking in woodland helps to quieten the mind through being focussed on walking through it, as there are plenty of potential trip hazards when walking ‘off piste’ in a wild woodland.

While I’m looking down, to monitor what’s under foot, I notice things I wouldn’t have done otherwise, which fills me with joy of this new perspective to be delighted with, rather than the more usual view at head level, straight ahead.

A woodland walk can provide a dose of nature nourishment for the senses

It’s a well known phenomena that when we’re really focussing on something that demands concentration, the brain pushes away other thoughts to allow the focussing to occur. Of course you could achieve a state of mind soothing and quietening through reading a good book, or even getting engrossed in a film on TV. However, there’s an important aspect missing – that of physical exercise and linking of the mind and body through mental concentration and physical action, combined.

people walking through woodlandImmersing yourself in a wild wood environment, walking quietly and slowly, without distraction from phone, family, work, or demands that come arise from the digital world we live in can provide a dose of nature nourishment for the senses.

The challenges associated with walking in a wild wood, as opposed to walking in a managed country park or woodland area, is the fact you have to concentrate on what’s underfoot, at just about every step. We’re not used to looking down to see where’s best to place the next foot and doing so is strangely exciting, venturing almost into unknown territory.

The mere fact of having to ‘watch your step’ slows the walker down, the concentration required to monitor progress focusses the mind and before a 100 metres have passed underfoot a more tranquil mind-set is reached. Walking in wild woodland is less about reaching a destination and more about the process of the  journey in getting there.

When you walk quietly and slowly in woodland there is much more to hear and see, because you don’t alarm the creatures and birds who live there. It’s a wonderful experience, when walking silently and slowly in woodland, to pass a bush and suddenly see a Hare sprinting away, or see a deer standing looking at you from further along the track.

Walking in woodland can be tremendously restorative, helping people smile from the inside.

Walking in woodland for improving wellbeing

orange fungi cluster on tree trunkGiving people regular opportunity to immerse themselves in a wild wood environment, away from constant distractions of urban life, can contribute to feelings of well-being.

Just breathing in the fresh air, noticing the seasonal changes and experiencing different weathers helps to reconnect a person to the natural world.

Studies world-wide have documented the various mental and physical health benefits to be gained from getting outdoors and reconnecting to nature. Walking in a wild wood could be the spoonful of medicine that could deliver considerable wellbeing benefits to a wide variety of people.

Benefit from a wild wood walk experience as part of a mindfulness session

wild garlic in woodlandWe run sessions for mindfulness in a woodland setting on several days each month. The woodland where the sessions are run is privately owned, situated between Thrapston, Oundle, Corby and Kettering in East Northants,

Each mindfulness session starts at 10.am. and lasts between 1 and 3  hours, led by a qualified mindfulness in a woodland setting practitioner.

We require that mobile phones are switched off during sessions, to ensure everyone can savour the benefits from being temporarily unplugged from the technological world.

Free car parking is available within the wood. NB Please be aware that there is no public transport available to the wood or the nearby village of Sudborough..

Cost per person: this ranges from £10 for a 1 hour session to £20 for a 3 hour session with lunch. Places are limited and for catering purposes advance booking is required..

If you think you might like to come along to experience the wellbeing benefits to be gained from involving yourself in a mindfulness session in the woods please contact us. Once we have your details we’ll keep you up to date with dates as soon as they’re arranged, so you’ll get first option of a place if you’d like one.

Alternatively, if you’re not keen on filling in forms, contact Susan Collini on 01832 733457 or 07799 892900 with your details

We hope to meet you at the woodland very soon.


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