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Nature and Flow States: How Being Outside Can Trigger Flow

If you enjoy spending time in nature then being outside can be a potent trigger for states of flow where your mind quiets and you find yourself more immersed in your sensory experience.

Here’s a simple way to quiet your mind and become more embodied in a state of presence while exploring in nature.

1. If your mind is very active or you feel stressed start by sitting for 5 or 10 minutes in meditation to still the flow of your thoughts. This will make it much easier to bring your full attention to your present moment experience.

2. Spend a few minutes just silently observing each of these senses: what you see, then what you smell, what you hear. Notice how you feel in your body as you’re observing the world around you.

3. See if you can observe your sensory awareness without attaching labels or judgments to what you are experiencing. Just simply observe things as they are with what is called mindful awareness or pre-conceptual awareness.

Intentionally doing this practice regularly is a powerful way to awaken and cultivate the sense of awe and wonder and feel it deeper in your body.

It’s a simple practice to curb compulsive thinking and the distracted state of continuous partial attention that blocks the experience of flow.

When you get more comfortable in the “felt presence” of your immediate experience, magic happens.

Nature and Flow States

The reason nature is so powerful for getting into states of flow is because the natural world forces us to pay more attention to our experience through 3 powerful flow triggers.

Flow Triggers are structural pre-conditions for achieving flow in your activities. Here are my thoughts on how being in nature can help focus your attention and spark your curiosity.

These 3 flow triggers are found abundantly in nature:

1. Novelty:

Nature is full of novelty to explore with your senses and the natural world is a place of intense awe and wonders the more deeply you study it and experience it directly with your full attention.

Flow Trigger In Nature: Novelty

2. Complexity:

Ecosystems have so many levels of complexity. What you see is just the tip of the iceberg. In the soil, there is a whole interconnected microbial and fungi-based world that makes the miracle of biodiversity on Planet Earth possible.

Flow Trigger In Nature: Complexity

3. Unpredictability:

Spending time in nature takes us away from the linear and highly structured world of industrial civilization and allows us to escape the programming of risk-averse cultural conditioning and go on our own adventures into the unknown.

Flow Trigger In Nature: Unpredictabiliy

Flow States In Nature: Forest Bathing and Sensory Immersion Meditation

In a world where we are increasingly domesticated by technology and where the average person spends nearly 10 hours a day staring at a screen, nature can refresh and recharge the mind and body.

Next time you’re wandering in the forest, bring your full attention to your sensory experience and feel the “felt presence” in your body. With a little practice, you will start to quiet your mind and feel a much deeper presence and connection to the natural world.

Love nature? Download my guide to developing your ecological awareness with Eco-Mindfulness Training.

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