What if there was a way to boost your creativity, reduce stress, build self-esteem and enhance your problem-solving ability before you’d even met your coach? There is; coaching in nature!
Henry David Thoreau got it: He wrote that “the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow”. His insight is borne out by the latest research. Psychologist Dan Kahneman noticed that he seemed to be more mentally alert when he was out for a walk. Scientists have now found that walking increases focus, boosts mental flexibility and enhances memory. It seems that nature writer Ralph Waldo Emerson was onto something when he described walking as “gymnastics for the mind”.
Walking in a natural environment provides even more benefits. Being in nature lowers your stress and just 20 minutes outside can boost your energy, helping you feel more fully alive and energized. There’s good evidence that time in nature can improve your self-esteem and enhance your sense of personal autonomy – your ability to freely choose your actions and express your authentic self.
Nature can also get your creative juices flowing. Research from the US found that a four-day nature hike improved creative problem solving by as much as 50 per cent. Sadly most of us don’t have the option of taking a four-day hike in the wilderness, but even a 25-minute walk in a local park can boost your creativity. A Danish study found that nature helped creative professionals in their work, making them “more open towards new, different and wild ideas”. Looking for inspiration? Go for a walk in the park!
As if all that wasn’t enough, it looks like nature can improve your memory. Research has found that a walk in an arboretum, compare to one in a city, improved memory by 20%. A good memory gives you access to the myriad of ideas you’ve picked up over time, so is vital for reaching your full creative potential.
Outdoor coaching is very flexible. A ‘walk and talk’ session in a local park will bring all the positive benefits I’ve outlined above. But we can also bring in powerful exercises that can literally change your mind or draw on nature metaphors to help you tap into your embodied wisdom. Get in touch to find out more.