Arboretum News

Finding Peace in Tumultuous Times

Get into nature and focus on what matters most.

COVID-19 Update: The Arboretum is temporarily closed–even to walkers–until further notice. Find updates and information here.

By Jean Larson, manager of Nature-Based Therapeutic Services Program at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

The COVID-19 virus has upended our usual routines and brought a new level of stress into our lives.  Rather than chronically waiting for minute-by-minute updates, I suggest you set technology aside and do the following:

  1.  Find a place in nature where you can relax and think.  This place could be in your home sitting in a comfortable chair looking out into a restorative landscape; or at a nearby nature park on a bench; or even looking at a photo of nature on your computer screen. Wherever, it must have nature and meaning to you.
  2. Now go ahead and list three to five things that matter the most to you.  Think of these as the guiding principles or ‘core values’ in your life.
  3. Then reflect on how much time (since the COVID-19 outbreak) you have been spending on activities that align with your core values? How much time are you expending unnecessary energy generating catastrophic scenarios in your mind related to COVID-19?
  4. Now for every new piece of information related to COVID-19 that comes your way, ask yourself: “If I say yes to stressing about this news, to what am I saying no that has meaning and value in my life?” This is a powerful question. It makes the trade-offs apparent and helps you avoid feeling overwhelmed by the acute stress of circumstances related to the coronavirus.
  5. Finally, during this time of unknown, I suggest you make this a daily practice.  Not only will it take you physically to a place in nature for restoration – it will bring your mind some calm and happiness.

2 comments on “Finding Peace in Tumultuous Times

  1. Amy Parenteau

    The Peace of Wild Things

    When despair for the world grows in me
    and I wake in the night at the least sound
    in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
    I go and lie down where the wood drake
    rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
    I come into the peace of wild things
    who do not tax their lives with forethought
    of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
    And I feel above me the day-blind stars
    waiting with their light. For a time
    I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
    Wendell Berry

  2. Betty Forster

    Thank you. As a person of Faith I will add this exercise to my prayer time. We can do this with ……help.

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