Being in Nature: 20 practices to help you flourish in a busy world


  • Being in Nature: 20 practices to help you flourish in a busy world by James Farrell and Lee Evans (Nature Connection Books, London, 2021).
  • 62 pages, 20 colour illustrations.
  • ISBN 9781739840402. Pbk, £9.99. Available via www.natureconnectionbooks.com.

We all know that 'being in nature' is good for us – all the research tells us so – but what exactly does it mean? And how do we really connect with it? That's a little less clear.

Walking through the park on your way to work, headphones in while you worry about the day ahead, is unlikely to cut it. And that's where this small, self-published book (it's more like a pamphlet) comes in.

Following a very short introduction are 20 exercises you can do to properly engage with nature in your everyday life. Each one covers what to do, how it works and the inspiration behind it. I particularly appreciated the 'how it works' explanations. I like to know that there's genuine evidence for the benefits of doing something.

Each action is also accompanied with a vintage illustration. These are lovely and all are acknowledged at the back of the book. There's also a bibliography for anyone who wants to find out more.

After reading the whole thing in one sitting, I decided to carry out a few of the exercises to see if they worked for me – the book is meant to offer practical advice, after all. Some are seasonal, so I discounted any that wouldn't work in May, but other than that I just chose at random.

The exercises are easy to perform and should be accessible to most, even those living in pretty nature-depleted areas. The language will be familiar to anyone who's done any mindfulness meditations.

So, do I feel more connected to nature? It's hard to say; these practices are meant to be carried out daily over a long time period. But they did give me an excuse to take a few minutes to get outside, and that can't be a bad thing. 

Written by: Rebecca Armstrong