CVA Updates

The Power of Connecting with Nature: Mental Wellbeing Through Nature-Based Therapy

This article was written by Kit Kline, Founder of Nature Based Therapy, in collaboration with Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA).

I have fond memories of growing up in Canada and these memories are connected to my early childhood experiences of engaging with the natural world. It was a time when I would experience the awe of the natural world and see myself as part of this magical and mystical force on Earth.

Early childhood experiences in nature can be formative

My early childhood memories include feeling a cold snowflake land on my nose and building igloos with my siblings in our backyards ensuring that we had gloves on, so we didn’t get frostbite.

As I reflect, I also remember skating on frozen ponds, making mud cakes, picking blackberries from the bushes beyond my backyard fence and climbing trees to make treehouses.

Summertime enabled swims in the ocean, collecting shells, observing crabs in the long seaweed, and avoiding being pinched!

Every waking moment that wasn’t inside the school classroom was spent outdoors in nature. It was an experience that allowed me to be my authentic self and that enabled me to go beyond my comfort zone and fully experience life.

Immersive experiences in nature can help us live in the present moment

The one thing that allows us to be fully present and in the moment is the connection we have with nature and our own sensory system.

Our sensory system allows us to feel alive and to be part of something much bigger than ourselves. These are the senses of sight, touch, smell, taste, and sound.

However, there is something much more significant than the five awakened senses in the human experience.

Cultivating a sense of intuition

One thing that I noticed as I engaged with nature was the tuning into my sense of intuition. It was a sense of deep knowing.
There was a knowledge that was held in my biophilia that we are nature.

Connecting to nature was like coming home. It was where I felt the essence of the human experience and the knowing that I was never alone.

I did not realise that at the time of my early childhood experiences in nature, that I would be working with nature as I navigated myself and my life.

Nature has been both my therapist and my teacher. I have included it into my practice as a social worker and counsellor.

We can all connect deeply with nature using nature-based mindfulness techniques

Most of us think we need to ‘go to’ nature to connect with the natural world and experience the benefits. But, nature is within us and all around us. And, it is the subtle moments of connection that bring us the most awe and inspiration.

The key to connection is the observation that requires us to be still and listen deeply to what it is we are sharing space with.

The snail that slowly crosses our path whilst we are walking to the letterbox, the ladybug that appears on the leaf that we are about to prune, the petal that opens as the cloud gently moves away from the rays of the sun. It is in these moments that we can fully be alive and experience the deep connection that we all yearn for.

When we engage in nature-based mindfulness, we fully connect with all six of our senses and the natural world, and this enables us to be fully present in the moment.

This presence of mind allows us to slow down the chatter that is concerned with tomorrow or the chatter that is regretful of yesterday. It allows us to tune into our authentic self and allows our emotional state to find regulation and our breath to be noticed.

Practising presence through nature-based mindfulness, everywhere you go

We can engage in the practice of nature-based mindfulness, anywhere, and at any time.
Nature is in us and all around us. We are part of the ecosystems upon which we are all dependent. We cannot survive without nature.

Nature requires us to be aware of this relationship – not only to heal ourselves, but to also heal the planet. Without this relationship and understanding of our deep connection with nature, we will not realise the importance of caring for the environment and hence caring for ourselves.

Next time you walk to the letter box, tend to your garden, hang out the washing, or take your dog or children for a walk, I invite you to look and listen deeply to the natural world with all your senses.

What is it that you can see and feel? Engage in your five senses and drop into your sense of intuition. Take notice of the flower that is in bloom, the bee that is pollinating, the leaves that are being rustled by the soft breeze of the wind and the blades of grass that are being softly touched by the critters that live beneath them.

What insights do you gain that can reveal your authenticity and answer your questions about who you are and why you are here?

Our mental wellbeing is dependent upon being connected to something much bigger than ourselves and knowing that we are never truly alone.

About Kit Kline and Nature Based Therapy

Kit Kline is the founder of Nature Based Therapy in Torquay (Victoria) and is a social worker (MSW) and Nature Based Therapist. Kit has collaborated with CVA to provide workshops for volunteers on using mindfulness and connection to nature to build mental wellness.

If you would like to learn more about nature based therapy and engage in one of Kit’s workshops or courses please email Kit at [email protected] or visit her website: www.naturebasedtherapy.com.au.

Building a connection to nature through conservation volunteering and Nature Blocks

At CVA, we recognise the power of conservation volunteering to provide an opportunity for volunteers to connect with nature and practice nature-based mindfulness.

We empower people across Australia to take part in our country-wide volunteering events, and to also create spaces for nature at home by establishing Nature Blocks™. Nature Blocks are a simple, app-led action designed to make nature conservation accessible, fun, and fulfilling for all.

Download the CVA App and find educational resources to help you start creating your own Nature Block today.

Download the CVA app and get started now!

Disclaimer: This website does not provide medical advice. The content on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.