A mindful moment: outdoors art

Mental Health

We’re sharing four mindful artistic activities you can try while engaging with the natural world

Getting crafty can do wonders for your wellbeing, from reducing stress, and helping to express yourself, to improving your self-esteem with a sense of accomplishment. And the thing is you don’t have to be a budding Picasso to reap the benefits; it’s not about the outcome, or a gallery-worthy creation. This is about how art makes you feel, the joy of creation, and the exploration of your emotions.

And combining these benefits with the wonders of nature just gives the whole activity an added boost. To really get mindful about it, consider your posture and how you are interacting with the artwork. Can you feel different textures, the sun on your skin, or the breeze brushing over you as you work? Follow your instincts about what you want to draw, sketch, paint etc., and don’t put any pressure on yourself if you make a mistake, or it doesn’t look how you planned. This is expressive; this is about connecting with the world around you deeply and intuitively for a moment.

1. Take a sketchbook

A simple notebook and pencil could transform your next wander through the woods. When something catches your eye, settle down in the peaceful surroundings and connect with them. Try to take in every little detail you can to see that natural element in a new light.

2. Use a camera

The art of photography is that you can really focus on what’s in front of you and forget the rest of the world, and anything worrying you. Consider the composition of your shot, and what feeling you want to evoke – do you want to take pictures of the same space at different times of the day to see how the mood changes?

3. Focus on colour

Whatever medium you prefer to use, you could experiment with the hues of the natural world by drawing or painting what you see, but in a colour that reflects how it makes you feel, or your emotions at the time. You might find the way you look at what’s in front of you changes when you see it through a new perspective.

4. Try crayon etching

This can be a fun pastime that harks back to childhood, so could be a great family activity to get everyone involved. Simply collect a range of leaves on a woodland walk, then place a piece of paper over them and rub a crayon across the page. The imprint of the leaf, with all its intricate veins, will show through, allowing you to appreciate all its details that might usually pass you by.



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