Journaling Is Good for You
I think it’s safe to say that we know that there are significant benefits in keeping a journal – any journal. Benefits like better mental clarity, boost in both confidence and emotional intelligence, self-discipline, more creativity, increased problem-solving skills, and on and on.
And there are so many great ways to keep a journal. A quick search on Pinterest produces many options: art journals, bullet journals, scripture journals, gratitude journals just to name a few. I have one more to add that I think trumps them all. 🙂
We kind of fell into it over here and I can honestly say that nature journaling has been nothing short of a treasured gift for both me and my kids. Let me tell you why:
Nature Makes You Happy
There are so many studies proving a real connection between nature and happiness. This one, in particular, caught my eye: The mental health organization, MIND, published a study that found depression was reduced in 71% of participants after taking a walk in nature. When compared to walking around a shopping center where 22% of participants were more depressed than before the walk. 94% of the participants said that nature walks benefited their mental health.
Anecdotally, I have found over and over again that in our family, when annoyance levels are high and patience is low, a quick walk outside or impromptu nature study changes everything – for both me and my kids.
Nature journaling gives you the benefits of both journaling and nature making it a powerful tool full of excellent benefits!
How To Get Started
You don’t need much to get started. Just a small journal and a pen or pencil will do. If you’d like to get some special supplies, I did a post on all of my favorite supplies here. But remember it doesn’t have to be complicated! You can always add to your supplies later.
You get to decide what you are going to record and how you will record it. If you enjoy drawing and painting, go that route. If you’d rather write down what you are seeing and feeling that is perfectly fine too. I find that drawing and painting even when I feel like I’m not doing a good job of it, forces me to focus on my subject longer and helps me to see more than I otherwise would have. With either option, be as descriptive as possible and try to open yourself up to seeing the natural world as a child would – with excitement and awe. Pay attention to your five senses. What are you seeing? What’s the weather like? What do you smell?
You may even want to collect a leaf or petal and tape it into your journal. Photos are a great option too. I usually draw what I’m seeing and then I record my thoughts and feelings, the weather, and if I have time, a few facts I look up on my phone. It takes me anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour…or however long I can get away with.
Nature is Everywhere
We sometimes think that it is necessary to travel “to nature” and while I am all for trips to the woods or the beach, you really only need to go to your backyard. In fact, you could be living in a high rise in the middle of the city and still experience nature. Look and listen. Just get yourself outside even if it’s for 10 minutes and record something you see or hear. Stop and observe and make it a habit. Do it daily or weekly…just regularly, and I promise it will change you.
Nature Journaling Is Not Complicated
And that’s it! Nature journaling does not have to be complicated, and like most of the best things in life, it’s practically free. So if you are looking for some extra peace in your day and a creative outlet that doesn’t require a lot of time or money, give nature journaling a try and watch it transform your life.