Strengthen your personal resilience in and with nature

Welcome back to the 2nd part of the blog article series from and with expert Ute Gigler from Coaching Moves. Today with the important topic “resilience” and how we can strengthen our resilience in and with nature. Further tips to stengthen your personal resilience you can also find in a previous article by Brigitte Hettenkofer.

A lot of people know the feeling that overcomes them when watching a sunset, enjoying the sounds of running water in a stream or hiking through a forest with all its wonderful smells. It feels pleasant and very nice, and yet we are often unable to explain why we feel that way. It has been proven that beautiful moments like these contribute to more inner calm and greater well-being. We often perceive our work load or stress to be less threatening after we have spent time in nature and we are better capable of handling challenges and stressful moments.

What exactly does resilience entail?

We are resilient when we are capable of handling different types of challenges. Resilient individuals handle stress well and they are good at managing themselves. They are also e.g. optimistic and actively shape their future – and these are just two of the essential competences we need to be resilient.

Being more resilient provides us with more room to manoeuvre so that we become more flexible and calmer in dealing with unforeseen events. An analogy would be a monoculture of firs which can hardly withstand a storm compared to a mixed forest. We can thus be more flexible and have a range of options when dealing with disturbances and crises. Being more resilient also protects us from the negative effects of stress, helps us in relationships and fosters compassion and self-compassion.

We can learn to be resilient

Good news! We can improve and train our personal resilience. The neurosciences have shown that mindfulness and self-compassion represent the most important competences in learning to better handle stress and to become more resilient. Specific exercises and strategies for developing all resilience competences support you in strengthening those areas that need improvement.

How can nature support our quest to become more resilient?

When I am feeling stressed and I quickly have the opportunity to take a walk in a park or a forest enjoying the flowers along the trail, I almost immediately notice that I feel better and my feelings of stress begin to fade. In this case, our body and brain simultaneously benefit from the positive effects of a natural environment and physical exercise. Many individuals feel similar in such a situation.

Clemens Arvay has compiled the latest scientific results on the numerous positive health effects of a natural green environment on humans in his book ‘Healing Code of Nature’. Studies have shown for instance, that terpenes from trees strengthen our immune system. Other studies have shown, that humans who spend time near water bodies become calmer and more creative. Thus, a natural, green environment contributes to our health, helps us to relax and improves cognitive functioning.

Practices and exercises for the outdoors

You can also benefit from those effects on a daily basis. I have prepared a number of tips and exercises for you which you can easily fit into your day. Doing them regularly will take you a step further toward becoming more resilient:

  1. Take a walk in a nearby park during your lunch break
  2. Go running in the morning or after work
  3. Take a break in your garden, a green balcony or a park and take time to observe a bee, a butterfly or a flowering plant
  4. Stand in nature and sense the breeze on your skin and clothing
  5. Lie down in the grass or on a bench, look at the clouds and daydream

My resilience trainings take place indoors as well as in natural, green environments, because being outdoors and exercising is so good for us and it also improves our learning capabilities. My nature-based coaching sessions also help you to reduce your level of stress and allow you to experience the positive effects of outdoor coaching first hand. Therefore, I invite you to experiment with the exercises and find out for yourself which ones you enjoy. Have fun with practicing in nature!

Let us know your experience with the exercises!

Yours, Ute Gigler from Coaching Moves