Quality CareFind out why Mayo Clinic is the right place for your health care. Make an appointment.
Meet the StaffFind a directory of doctors and departments at all Mayo Clinic campuses. Visit now.
Research and Clinical TrialsSee how Mayo Clinic research and clinical trials advance the science of medicine and improve patient care. Explore now.
Visit Our SchoolsEducators at Mayo Clinic train tomorrow’s leaders to deliver compassionate, high-value, safe patient care. Choose a degree.
Professional ServicesExplore Mayo Clinic’s many resources and see jobs available for medical professionals. Get updates.
Give to Mayo ClinicHelp set a new world standard in care for people everywhere. Give now.
Mayo Clinic offers appointments in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota and at Mayo Clinic Health System locations.
Subscribe to Housecall
Our general interest e-newsletter keeps you up to date on a wide variety of health topics.
Subscribe to our Living With Cancer e-newsletter to stay up to date on cancer topics.
One of my favorite ways to relax is to simply step outside and enjoy being in nature for 10-20 minutes.
I enjoy a simple walk, taking in the sights, smell and sound around me. Being out in nature is a great way to let go of stress and focus on your surroundings.
If you're not sure how to get started, try this — each day, plan to spend at least 15 minutes outdoors in nature. If you live in an urban area, find your favorite park, neighborhood or green space and enjoy the uniqueness of being outdoors.
Next, be aware of the entire spectrum of your senses:
As you spend time in nature, find a comfortable place and meditate by sitting with your eyes closed. Focus on your breathing for at least 5 minutes.
You can also try a walking meditation, focusing on taking in the beauty of nature, letting go of worries and anxieties.
Notice the little things, such as the way a tree provides shade and protection, the different shapes and colors of flowers, the scents of being outdoors, the gentle breeze on your skin and the clouds in the sky. Give your body a gentle stretch as you take in all of the sensory experiences.
Next, focus your attention on five things that you're grateful for each day. Think about each one as a special gift.
My favorite place to walk is near a group of pine trees that I love. I take in the smell of the pine, look up to see the beautiful branches. I feel the strength of the trees and the beauty of how they're created. I think about the people I love, the positive aspects of my day, and leave behind a worry or two.
How do you relax in nature? Try this exercise daily for a week and write me with your comments.
Follow me on Twitter at @SherylNess1. Join the discussion at #livingwithcancer.
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.
Follow on Twitter:
Join the discussion at #livingwithcancer.
Selecting "Submit" signifies that you have read and agree to our posting guidelines.
Could you please cite some research about the benefits of doing something like meditating when a person has cancer? I am not being sarcastic or snarky, I would really like to read it.
Pre-cancer I always used nature as a way to escape from the stresses of the day. Our backyard is a registered wildlife sanctuary and my own personal retreat. There is beauty in nature everywhere if we just slow down and let it pull us in. The quiet, except for the chatter of animals and the sound of running water is such a renewal for the soul. Living in the midwest, it is hard in the winter because I don't enjoy the cold. During that time I go to a quite room and look out at the beauty from the warmth of the house.
Hi Sheryl Stage IVB Throat cancer survivor here and you are sooooo right on the stress... Big factor and yes the main focus of my own big little book. http://www.amazon.com/What-Expect-When-Expecting-Cancer/dp/1492290262/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378336887&sr=1-2-fkmr1&keywords=what+to+expect+when+you+are+expecting+cancer+print+edition
My mom who is 82 and has lung cancer from smoking and COPD and has been given 6 months or so to live. She enjoys her porch in the country and watching her flowers and birds and just nature in general. We have spent many hours on her porch and this gives us peace. Such a good suggestion.
Great post. I have been fighting Stage 4 (salivary with lung mets) for 7 years. I utilize these techniques as much as possible, and Virginia's comments totally hit home. Saturday night is movie night (I have a 6 yr old daughter) at our house. My daughter's name is Charlotte and we watched "Charlotte's Web" together. We both loved that song too...weird coincidence huh? I will view it as a good sign for my upcoming scan results :)
I really do believe that my spending time in nature near the lake, walking in the woods, watching the birds, and enjoying nature's stillness and quiet has been paramount in my healing process. Colors and sights appear more vivid to me since having cancer. I know that God is near and feel very thankful. It's much better than watching TV.
Great post! I'm not sure if it's the chemo drugs I'm currently taking (FEC) or the experience of having cancer, but I have become much more easily brought to tears (both happy and sad). And lately, every time I'm out in nature I become deeply moved. I think about life - not just mine or ours - all life. Long grass, birds, whatever I see. Even the stones seem to have some sort of life. I think about the miracle of how it's all here and how lucky we are to be a part of it. (Think Charlotte's song in Charlotte's Web, 'How very special are we for just a moment to be part of life's eternal plan...'). Then I usually tear up and talk to god. These are my best meditations. I will try to do them more often!
VERY GOOD ADVISE ON HOW TO ENJOY NATURE.....NATURE IS MOST BEAUTIFUL AND ENJOYING THAT BEAUTY IS EVERY ONES RIGHT...GIFTED BY GOD....SO ENJOY IT...
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Proceeds from website advertising help support our mission. Mayo Clinic does not endorse non-Mayo products and services.
Check out these best-sellers and special offers on books and newsletters from Mayo Clinic.
A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.com," "EmbodyHealth," "Enhance your life," and the triple-shield Mayo Clinic logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
We comply with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.