Chances are if you have spent any time in nature you may have a special place that you like to return to. This space could be something you have experienced in real life, or something you have seen or heard or learned about through a movie or a book or a story from a friend or family member. These special places in nature are important places to visit regularly for our health and well-being.
Fortunately, you do not have to actually visit these locations to gain the health and well-being benefits! In fact, simply visualizing your favorite natural space can be enough to reduce your stress and improve your health. If possible, aim for at least 5 to 10 minutes a day of visiting your special place in nature- either in real life, or through visualization!
Below are some ideas for what to do when you visit that space (either in real life or via picture or mental visualization). Pick one or combine for different experiences every time you explore your special nature place, and add your own ideas! This is just a starting point:
- Close your eyes and engage as many of your senses as possible. What do you hear, smell, and feel?
- Notice your body- how do you feel when you arrive in your special space in nature? Does your breathing change? What about your muscles? Are you smiling?
- Describe to a friend or family member or write down why this place is special to you. Consider using as many physical descriptions (e.g. lush and green, lots of trees, wind in trees, etc.), as well as emotional descriptions for how you feel (e.g. I feel peaceful, I feel relaxed, I feel open).
- Draw or paint your special place in nature. Does it change throughout the day, or throughout the year? Consider drawing or painting how it changes over time.
- Write a love letter to your special place- tell it why you appreciate it and what role it plays in your life.
We hope you are able to take time to visit your special place in nature every day! If you do not yet have a special place in nature, we hope you will consider exploring the Minnesota Zoo soon, and seeing all the beautiful spaces and animals we have!
The best thing about these special nature places is they can always live in our mind and our hearts, so you do not need to leave your home to experience your favorite place!
The Minnesota Zoo would love to see examples of how you used this activity at home! Please share pictures or comments via email at [email protected], and take less than 5 minutes of time to provide us feedback by completing this short survey.