Mindfulness exercises can be a great tool to keep a positive mindset throughout these challenging times. This is a technique for nature journaling that I learned from John Muir Laws, and is very effective for slowing down, and concentrating on what you see around you. This activity can be done anywhere, but it does focus on nature, so sit by a window, in your backyard, or find a tree somewhere. Try minimizing distractions (turn off your phone) and create a nice environment to sit in for a while. There are three basic components to concentrate on:
- I notice…
- Start finding things to notice in your nature space, and write them down. By writing them down, you are offloading the details out of your brain, so your brain can make room for new things to be noticed.
- I wonder…?
- Write down something you wonder about what you're seeing.
- This curiosity activates dopamine in your brain, and once you really get excited about something, you will remember it much better!
- These can be any types of questions -- ask many so that you don't have to go back and answer them.
- Next time you journal, perhaps you’ll notice something else that answers one of your questions.
- It reminds me of…
- Let your creativity flow, and try to think of what the object you’re looking at reminds you of.
- Be as silly or as serious as you want to be. This part is simply helping your brain make connections with the new things it’s seeing to old things you already know.
The point of this exercise is to offload information from your brain onto a page, so that you can “free up brain space,” or clear up room for new thoughts. Use pictures, words, numbers, symbols, or whatever you feel like in your journal. It should be a space for you, not a performance that you’ll be graded on/have to show others. Happy journaling!
P.S. If you make a creation that you want to share, send it to us on Instagram -- we’d love to see it!