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Nature Practices

What are practices?

Practices are small activities you can do outside to center yourself, shake some stress off, and spend some time in a green space. The word practice itself has two definitions: the use of a belief or method and the habitual or expected process of doing something. These outdoor practices are designed to guide you through different methods of relaxation in hopes that using the outdoors as a place to relieve stress will become a habit.

Why nature practice?

Paying close attention to something for a long period of time, like when you're studying, reading or doing other academic work causes mental fatigue and makes you lose your concentration and become stressed. Research has shown that even spending a brief amount of time in nature and letting your mind wander allows your attention and concentration to recover, leaving you feeling less stressed and more productive. This connection between mental recovery and green spaces is called restoration theory. As few as 10–15 minutes spent outside can have a significant impact on your stress level and your overall productivity.

Each one of these practices is a short task for you to do outside that will reduce stress and leave you feeling restored. Some of them are connected to specific locations in or around campus and utilize the unique features of that area for meditation. Others are general practices that can be done anywhere outside, but preferably in a green space. Among these practices you will find writing prompts, drawing prompts, and meditation ideas.  

 

To get the most out of these practices, don’t put too much concentration into any of them. Don’t turn it into an assignment. Let the prompt guide you but let your mind wander and be caught by anything you see or hear.   

 

It is also recommended that you turn off all notifications on your phone while doing these practices so you are not distracted by work or other obligations. It may also be a good idea to read a practice before going outside or write it down so your attention can remain on the world around you.   

Campus Lawns

Listening and exploring campus spaces.

Chapel Pond

Observation and spiritual rest.

Dillingham Fountain

Relaxation and curiosity by an IC landmark.

Forest Bathing (shirin-yoku)

A Japanese form of meditation: experience nature with all your senses.

Natural Lands

Mindful walking in IC's largest green space.

Permaculture Garden

Drawing and writing by the student-run garden outside Williams.

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