Back to Nature and Yourself with “One Wild Life”
Time spent in nature allows the brain to rest and has serious benefits for our cognitive functioning. So, this project, which teaches us how to connect to our inner experiences, through nature, immediately caught my attention.
One Wild Life aims to help us get back to our natural selves, through time spent in the natural environment. It was founded by three young visionaries, who want to give back to the world. This weekend (8-9 July), they are organizing an interesting event near Sofia, so I was itching to learn more. I wanted to find out if “Enough with the screens, spend more time outdoors” is meaningful advice, or a modern cliché.
Personally, I love spending time in nature. It’s great to hike up to ridges and summits, to pitch your tent near brooks and rivers, to sit by the campfire, while the sky is lit up by millions of stars. Because of my personal hypothesis that being in nature is meaningful and beneficial, I tried to find contradictory proof. Yet I was happy to discover that psychological research confirms the restorative powers of nature.
Results from Psychological Research
At the University of California, Irvine, researchers compared 3 groups of people. The first were people who remained in an urban environment, the second- non-nature vacationers, and the third – folks who went backpacking in the wilderness. The results were decisive – those who spent time in nature returned with improved cognitive, affective, and physical functioning.
Furthermore, attention restoration theory (ART) studies the environment’s impact on our ability to focus. Psychological research from the University of Michigan, based on ART, investigated the effects that being in nature has on the brain. What they discovered, is that even looking at photographs of nature has a positive impact on concentration.
Once I was fully persuaded in the benefits of nature, I was grew inspired by One Wild Life. So, I met with Nedelina, one of the people behind this project, to learn more.
Who are you and what is your idea about?
We’re a group of 3 motivated millennials, who met at a youth project in the Czech Republic, focused on strengthening the relationships with our inner selves and nature. It was so inspiring, that we wanted to create something similar in Bulgaria. One by one, our ideas accumulated, until One Wild Life was born.
Our goal was to create a space where people would be encouraged to face those sides of themselves, that they normally ignore or suppress. This is a safe environment for participants to define their plans, dreams, and ideas. We use non-formal education practices and, most importantly, people’s instinctive connection to nature.
Who can participate in the events and what should we expect?
Although our target group are usually millennials, we also have participants over the age of 40. There are no limitations. Anyone who needs to reconnect with themselves and nature is welcome to join us.
What can we get at your events that isn’t available anywhere else?
We use a combination of techniques meant to inspire self-learning, and self-acceptance, through the restorative properties of nature. We’ve gathered methods from all over the world – shamanic rituals, yoga, meditation, painting, dancing, music, and play. Our idea is to help participants get in touch with themselves and look at life from a different angle, all the while spending time in a friendly, safe natural environment. We hope that this way we’d enable people to gain a fuller understanding of themselves.
What should participant bring?
A yoga mat, lunch, a bottle, sleeping bag, tent, and their good mood.
If you’d like to spend a bit of time in nature, and learn more about yourself through facilitated practices, One Wild Life’s project might be just the thing for you.
And what benefits have you experienced from spending time in nature? Share in the comments below