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Nature-Based Therapy and Places to Pause - Finding your Sit Spot


It seems that urban parks and the benefits in being in them can often be underrated and sometimes even ignored. We tend to not prioritize a leisurely stroll in an environment where we know its bounds and often forget that discovery can still occur. We also sometimes ignore the healthy benefits of just being there.


Don’t take it from me though – I am a big fan of having some research to back up our thoughts, trying things out for ourselves, as well as respecting the knowledge of our own ancestors, and respecting Indigenous wisdom of the stolen and unceded territories that we live on (without appropriating please – that’s another post in itself you can read here).



What does research tell us? That even being in a local park has potential to increase your well-being (read more here and here). On top of that being in and revisiting that park while noticing the changing of seasons bring increased well-being (read about it here or for differences in all seasons being considered read here).


In Nature-Based Therapy also has this idea of revisiting a spot, noticing the changing seasons and your surroundings deeper is thought to build a deeper connection to the land you are on and the interconnectedness of us all (you can read about this and other research in the book Nature-Based Therapy). This is sometimes referred to as a “sit-spot” or a place that you return to frequently to pause and be present in.


A Place to Pause aka a Sit-Spot


A place to for you to return to and pause at, can be a favourite tree, bench, rock, wall, or maybe even stream, that is located within close walking distance of your home or work to allow for frequent access to this spot throughout the year. Get familiar with your place. This can be down by simply going there and sitting in that spot repeatedly.


To gain more benefits from this try to work up to spending 20 minutes or more in the spot at a time (article here) and try to journal and sketching to deepen the experience (read here and note here for even little kiddos this benefits). This activity can help you ground to the earth, create a greater awareness to yourself and a greater awareness and connection to the interconnectedness of all living things through witnessing the life that inhabits your sit-spot – even in our little urban parks. Read more about sit-spots here.


  • You might start to notice which trees change colours, which don’t.

  • What are those trees anyways… Maybe you look up their names and the names of the different shrubs nearby?

  • Maybe you will start to hear more birds?

  • Maybe curiosity will get you again and you might even look up the birds and their calls.?

  • What about other life... insects, rodents or perhaps even a trash panda - I mean raccoon :)

By doing this you might realize different families of birds, squirrels, ant hills, spider webs and even rodent burrows. You can start connecting to the cycles of life that occur regardless of your presence there. Like the changes of seasons, the life cycles of the animals and insects around you, yes even the cycles of the weather. By doing so you might even connect to this idea of something bigger than you through this interconnectedness. If so, that is great! If not, that is great too! Nature calms our nervous system (read here and here to start). Giving yourself the opportunity to slow down and reconnect with the natural environment around you is a gift to yourself.


Don’t take it from me though – give it a shot and see how it feels to you and what you notice in your mind and body before and after your 20 minutes intentionally engaging with the environment around you. How about if you try doing those 20 minutes a couple times a week for a few months? Will it lead to a year?


As always – take care,


Autumn


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