Many scientific studies show the beneficial effects of nature on an individual. Wandering in the forest, purring with your cat, or digging a bit in the garden can halve your stress levels, and slow the frenetic pace of your thoughts, at the same time giving back the taste for contemplation.
Switzerland is an ideal place for this : unbelievable landscapes, lakes on every street corner, fountains, seagulls, dogs of all kinds of breeds, not to mention the beautiful public parks in every town centre. Swiss people are truly spoilt. And that’s as well, as the practices I suggest need a certain amount of available nature, and that , not too far away. A sympathetic thought here for all the inhabitants of the mega cities of Japan, Mexico or China, for whom the contact with nature consists of a potted plant by the coffee machine , or a bit of birdsong as their ringtone.
And preferably with a landscape before you of trees, grass, pigeons, seagulls, melting into the blue. Walk with no particular goal, relaxed, lifting your head to the sky from time to time. Discover the details of the landscape, the knots in the tree trunks, the little drops glistening off the fountains.
The key: going slowly. You’ll be helped by the famous Swiss saying. ‘ The lake isn’t on fire’ no doubt some ancient wisdom about rediscovering the art of taking your time.
In addition: observe with an amused smile all the rushing passers by and the joggers in their fluorescent active wear – the groups that you belonged to before!
Look after plants.
In certain African tribes, wisdom is measured by the capacity of an individual to take care of a plant. To water it, talk to it, look at it from all angles, finding the best place for it… Establish a special relationship with one of the inhabitants of this Earth, whether it be an oak, fig, or orchid. Try to understand how this ‘vegetal individual’ functions ; what it perceives, what vibrations it gives off, what it likes and dislikes.
The key; this capacity of entering into a relationship with a universe very different to your own, will increase your skills to empathise greatly. And by extension will increase your ability to empathise with humans.
Without being obliged to publicly announce that you talk to plants, you can still share this practice with friends, parents, children…and give yourself regular updates on the plant life you have adopted.
Translation : Hilary Mac Rae
Illustration : Katy-Anna Gibbe