Arboretum News

Mindfulness in Nature

We know washing our hands, wearing masks and physical distancing are tools to keep us healthy, but there's one more important tool for coping with the pandemic.

COVID-19 Update: All members and visitors need to make a reservation in advance of their visit to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Find updates and information here.

Arboretum member Anne Boehle finds respite in beautiful scenes like the one she captured above. Boehle started a seasonal job at the Arboretum after deciding to take a break from her career in healthcare. “I wanted to contribute behind the scenes here because it has been my sanctuary from the stress of the world and there aren’t many places like this,” she writes.

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

We know that mindfulness can impact the wellbeing of an individual. But did you know it has the potential to transform how we cope with the pandemic? We know how to wash our hands, mask-up and distance ourselves 6 feet, but what about when feelings of despair get in the way? This is where mindfulness in nature comes in!

Being mindful in nature elevates our potential to restore and increase our resilience to carry forth in a stressful world.  Here are some simple things to do each day to reduce stress1:

By focusing on the present day-to-day experiences, we come to a heartfelt appreciation and reengagement with the natural world.

By choosing an experience in nature over worry, we can reduce stress and increase tolerance.

By observing the beauty of nature, we can cultivate and care for the wellbeing of ourselves and others.

Just being in nature for as little as 10 minutes can help us cope with the changes in our everyday lives.

By connecting together as one earth (plants, humans, animals), we are able to recognize the sanctity of life.

For further information, check out the following:

University of Washington – Urban Forestry and Human Benefits 

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Landscape and Human Health Laboratory

The Trust for Public Land – The Health Benefits of Parks

  1. Meredith GR, Rakow DA, Eldermire ERB, Madsen CG, Shelley SP and Sachs NA (2020) Minimum Time Dose in Nature to Positively Impact the Mental Health of College-Aged Students, and How to Measure It: A Scoping Review. Front. Psychol. 10:2942. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02942

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