Living with cancer blog

Meditate in nature to help relieve stress of cancer fight

By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N. July 20, 2013

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:

  • What do you see?
  • What do you smell?
  • How do you feel?
  • What do you hear?

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.


Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.

July 20, 2013