As a teen, being without your cell phone sounds like hell. The idea of missing alerts from Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter, and other social media outlets is scary. Not just social media, but being disconnected from your life force: your friends. Your friends are there for you when your parents are not. Your best friend listens to you go on and on about your latest crush and dreams of finally getting the guts to tell him how you feel. You send Snapchats while at doctor’s appointments and family vacations. You are always connected to the world through your phone.
Then your parents decide that the family needs a vacation. They chose camping in the middle of nowhere for a week. Of course they did this on purpose because they want “more family time without technology”. You say “I cannot live without my phone. I will die without it.” Your parents say that it will be okay and that they’re doing this “for your own good.” So now what? What do you do with all of your free time? You feel miserable. You feel anxious. You think “What do I do with my hands?”
My suggestion: Take a break in nature.
Nature is incredible for the mind, body, and soul. We do not spend enough time in nature. Humans are meant to constantly be moving with the ever changing seasons. As a teen in the 21st Century, it is hard to think that people walked miles for food or that it took months for someone to receive a letter. We live in a society where everything happens right away. You send an email and the person receives it in seconds. You post something on Twitter and can have 20 likes and retweets within minutes.
So why waste time in nature when you can watch a video on YouTube about nature? Because nature has a valuable lesson to teach: How to be present.
I invite you to follow the steps below in order to become more present and connected with nature.
1. Notice your breath. Are you breathing in and out of your mouth? If so, I encourage you to take some deep breaths. As you take your deep breaths, the air will come in through the nose and out through the mouth or nose. Take 5 deep breaths before resuming your regular breathing.
2. Notice the grass. Notice how the grass feels on your feet, including your toes. Is it rough? Does it tickle?
3. Look around you. What do you see? Notice what your eyes focus on.
4. Take a deep breath in. What smells do you take in? Are the smells pleasant or unpleasant?
5. What do you hear? Is nature silent? What does the wind sound like?
6. As you breath in and out, do you taste anything in the air? You might notice you can still taste your last meal on your tongue. Observe what comes to mind when you think of taste.
This activity may only take you 5 minutes. Or it could take you 10 minutes. Either way, this activity gets you present into your body and out of your monkey mind. Being present is very important to live a healthy life. If you enjoy it, have your family join you in the practice.
When you get back to civilization, I encourage you to continue this practice. You may notice how different you feel returning back to the hustle and bustle of city life. Know that nature is always there and enjoys your company.
About the Author: Amber R. SEATER is one of Your Monthly Mentors, a Professional Counselor serving teens in Missouri and Kansas, USA. Ms. Seater has a passion for helping teens, especially teen girls, become empowered. She acknowledges the impact that society, especially social media, has on young women’s body image and dreams/goals for the future and she utilizes different therapeutic techniques that involve the mind, body and spirit. This includes yoga, meditation, hiking, art, sand tray, and discussions about nutrition. Read more…