As a therapeutic school supporting children who have experienced trauma, we see the real benefits of students spending time outdoors, connecting with the natural world.
Megan Hornsby, Mental Health Practitioner at School for Inspiring Talents, shares how she uses the great outdoors to help students to manage overwhelming feelings or intense anxiety.
- Mindful walks
Using our senses, we navigate our tricky emotions whilst out and about. Tell me:
- 5 things you can see – trees, birds, people, flowers, clouds
- 4 things you can hear – birds, people, cars, the wind, running water, rustling in the bushes
- 3 things you can smell – damp leaves, mud, rain on dry earth
- 2 things you can touch – leaves, mud, grass
2.) Colour walks
Letting colours decide where we go. For example, pick yellow and we’ll follow the yellow colours together. Leaves, flowers, butterflies, sun, bees etc. and see where it takes us.
2.) Quiet listening
Find a quiet spot and close our eyes. Listen to the sounds of the birds. If our mind wanders, gently bring it back to what we can hear. Are the songs high or low pitched? How many different notes can you hear? Is it the same song repeated? Which is your favourite? How do they make you feel?
Some of our most effective therapeutic conversations take place outside 😊
These activities focus on grounding as a technique that helps us to stay connected to the present and reorient students to the here and now.