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I think it’s safe to say that you and I know about the benefits of keeping a journal—any journal. Benefits like better mental clarity, boosts in both confidence and emotional intelligence, self-discipline, more creativity, increased problem-solving skills, and on and on.
And there are so many great ways to keep a journal. A quick search on Pinterest produces many options: Art journals, bullet journals, scripture journals, and gratitude journals just to name a few. I have one more to add that I think trumps them all.
Have you ever tried keeping a Nature Journal?
We kind of fell into it over here, and I can honestly say that nature journaling has been nothing short of a gift for both my kids and me. Let me tell you why:
Nature Makes Us Happy
There are so many studies proving a real connection between nature and happiness. This one, in particular, caught my eye: The mental health organization, MIND, published a study that found depression was reduced in 71% of participants after taking a walk in nature. When compared to walking around a shopping center where 22% of participants were more depressed than before the walk. 94% of the participants said that nature walks benefited their mental health.
Anecdotally, I have found over and over again that in our family, when annoyance levels are high and patience is low, a quick walk outside or an impromptu nature study changes everything—for both me and my kids.
Nature journaling gives you the benefits of both journaling and nature, making it a powerful tool full of excellent benefits!
Art and Nature
One of my favorite parts about keeping a nature journal is that I get an excuse to practice drawing and painting on a regular basis. There are so many unique textures, shapes, and colors to explore. I tell myself that my drawings don’t have to be perfect and I just enjoy the time. It is the perfect outlet for my need to relax and enjoy making art.
A Different Perspective
Even on my hardest days, nature can take me away to a place of awe and wonder. When I stop, sit still, and take the time to draw a bird or flower, or write down what is happening around me, I can’t help but feel deep gratitude for the beauty of these things. Nature journaling has helped me see my little piece of the world differently. Instead of a backyard, I see intricate designs and exquisite patterns—even the weeds are intriguing! Having these experiences with nature always puts life back into perspective.
How To Start a Nature Journal
That’s another great thing about nature journaling. You don’t need much to get started. Just a small journal and a pen or pencil will do. If you’d like to get some special supplies, I did a post on all of my favorite supplies here.
To make it a habit, you simply need to schedule it in. I have nature journaling built into a weekly schedule. I usually draw what I’m seeing, record my thoughts and feelings, the weather, and if I have time, a few facts I look up on my phone. It takes me anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour . . . or however long I can get away with.
Nature Journaling Is Not Complicated
And that’s it! Nature journaling does not have to be complicated, and like most of the best things in life, it’s practically free. So if you are looking for some extra peace in your day and a creative outlet that doesn’t require a lot of time or money, give nature journaling a try, and watch it transform your life.
Hannah Stevenson is an artist and mom to four. Her passion is to help creative moms make time for their art. She writes about creativity, nature, intentional education, and mindful family life at LilyandThistle.com. She also makes paper dolls!