Since our daily lives take place mainly indoors, you can quickly feel cut off from nature. When you are not able to spend much time outdoors on busy days, it might seem as if you don’t experience any nature at all. But is it really that bleak? Try and look around really carefully. There is surely something natural to be seen, right? If you learn to see those little things, you can find nature almost anywhere!
I know what it’s like to feel stuck inside, while you would much rather be inhaling fresh air in a forest. During my study, I had to follow several mandatory courses that included a lot of laboratory work. On days like that, when you would be working inside lab buildings from half past eight in the morning till six in the afternoon, I felt life being drawn out of me. (Note: the courses were very good, just not my piece of cake) And even now, although I have more time to freely organise and have more possibilities to outside, I still spend most of my time either in lecture halls or behind a computer. And that makes me miss nature a lot sometimes.
The Little Things
But gradually, I have become more aware of all the small pieces of nature in my daily environment. Some things have been put there deliberately to add some “nature” to the room, but other things have another main purpose and just happen to be natural as well. It’s when you teach yourself to see those little things, that being indoors does not necessarily make you cut of from nature. For me, this small form of mindfulness has made a world of difference!
To get an idea what I’m talking about, why don’t you go on a “treasure hunt” today? You could for instance use five minutes of your lunch break to consciously look around the kitchen or wherever it is you eat. Really take in everything you see. Are there some (dried) herbs standing on the counter? Plants definitely count as nature, just as those oranges lying in the fruits basket. You don’t have to remember everything you see, just let the awareness of natural things around you sink in.
Of course, there are some environments where there really, really is no nature to be found at all. It’s a shame, but those places exist. Most places like that are without these things for a very specific reason, so there is nothing much to be done about that. Luckily, in the big majority of indoor spaces, there is always some form of nature present. Sometimes a lot of nature might be easy to find, other times it’s more difficult. Be creative in your search, think outside the box. Those “difficult rooms” will not only lead you to gems of natural objects, it will also stimulate your creativity. What more could you ask for?
Repetition Makes a Habit
Repeat the “treasure hunt” every now and then. A few spare minutes before a meeting? What do you see, are there any natural things to be found? Have you been typing away at your computer for hours on end? Time to take a moment to look around your desk. If you repeat this once in a while, you will find it quickly becomes a habit. Once the awareness of natural things around you is settled into your system, your mind will be put to rest easier. It might even reduce your stress and increase your concentration and productivity.
Have fun on your treasure hunts and enjoy the peace it will bring to your mind!