Forest Mind- method connects nature based wellbeing and mind skills
Spending time in nature has been found to promote health. Forest Mind is an innovation system of mental skills exercises designed to utilize and intensify the natural healing effects of forests. This method uses the latest, most widely accepted trends in psychology, therapy, and coaching, including mindfulness and life coaching, in a natural setting or with natural imagery.
Forest Mind is an program of mental skills exercises designed to utilize and intensify the natural healing effects of forests. Forest Mind is ideal for promoting self-awareness, relaxation, stress relief, refreshment, and invigoration. Method uses psychology, mindfulness and lifecoaching, in a natural setting or with natural imagery.
Forest Mind exercises can also be used as self- care program to develop internal mental skills that support wellness. There are more than 150 exercises. Choose the ones that suit you best and practice them either outdoors or indoors, alone or in a group.
Mrs. Sirpa Arvonen launched Forest Mind in Finland at 2014. The same year the first Forest Mind- book titled: "Metsämieli- natural method for wellbeing" was published. Metsämieli is the finnish word for Forest Mind.
At the moment, there is nearly 500 qualified Forest Mind- instructors in Finland. Many of them guide practices also in english. There are instructors also in Belgium, Netherlands and Czech. Instructors can be contacted by e-mail. The list of instructors is found from link: Metsämieli- ohjaajat
Forest Mind Instructor cources
Courses are held in English across Europe and also elsewhere by appointment. International Lead of Forest Mind is working with regional professionals to tailor a mentoring course tailored to each environment. Forest Mind instructor training ensures the quality of the guidance of the method to the various groups.
In the Forest Mind instructor course, you will become acquainted with the theoretical background of scientifically backed effects of nature's well-being, what constitutes the so-called "mental skills", and the basics of guiding the Forest Mind method. In the course, you will gain more skills for maintaining your own resources and concrete skills for utilizing forest mind exercises as part of your own work, such as coaching, teaching, program services, or nature-based tourism.
In order to be admitted to the instructor course, you will need to have at least one of the following backgrounds (Application by e-mail in free form):
(a) Nature education, experience or long - term volunteering
b) Educational background in teaching, coaching, mindskills and well-being.
Participants are required to read the Forest Mind- material in advance, so in the course we can focus on backgrounding the exercises and practicing guidance. It is recommended to take a forest enthusiast course in advance if you have no previous experience in guiding groups.
Erja Järvelä, International Lead of Forest Mind- method, firstname.lastname@example.org
Forest Mind – basic principles of method:
- The wellbeing and health effects of nature make the forest the best place to exercise your mental skills.
- Everyone is an expert of their own wellbeing. Recognizing one’s senses, observations, reactions, thoughts, and emotions increases self-awareness and develops the skills for maintaining wellbeing.
- Everyone has their own relationship with nature and the forest. The Forest Mind exercises are suitable for any natural environment, including the yard or garden. The picture exercises are also suitable for constructed environments and indoors.
- The wellbeing effects of nature can be experienced both consciously and unconsciously.
- The Forest Mind exercises should be done regularly, since knowing oneself and practicing mental skills are lifelong processes.
- The purpose of Forest Mind is to increase self-awareness, strengthen wellbeing, and help you live a rewarding life, even in the face of difficulties and hardships.
Examples of Forest Mind exercises:
Landscape of the mind (3 min.)
- What type of landscape comes to mind when you think of a relaxing, safe, and pleasant place?
- Picture the landscape in your mind and imagine the views, colors, smells, and sounds.
- What do you feel in your body? What kind of thoughts come to mind?
- How can you use your mental landscape as a power reserve? In what situations could you take advantage of the tranquility and peace that this place provides?
- Seek out your mental place or a similar landscape as often as possible.
Practice observations (4 min.)
- Stop in the forest and observe your surroundings.
- Focus on your eyesight, hearing, and smells when observing nature.
- Fix your whole attention on one thing that interests you. What do you see, hear, smell, and feel?
- Focus on observing and concentration on one sense at a time. If you are looking at a tree, let your eyes take in the tree from top to bottom, and zoom in from the outline to the details, including the surrounding landscape.
- Practice focusing your attention on the pure sensations.
- If you feel your mind attempting to describe, explain, or evaluate the sensations, kindly return your mind back to examining the sensations without commentary.
- Continue your journey and consider the sensations you’ve just experienced. How did it feel to concentrate? What made it easy or difficult? How did it feel to be in the moment?
The minute move (1 min.)
- Sit in a place where you have a pleasant view of nature. Memorize the view and the positive state of mind it invokes so that you can return to the same state of mind later in the home or workplace with the minute move.
- Move your hands and feet. There is no right way, just listen to what your body needs and what feels good.
- Choose one move that you can do while you are observing the view of nature.
- Exhale completely and breath deep to refresh yourself, then continue the journey.
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