The 15 Best Ways to Connect With Nature

Written by Sammi Caramela
Published: October 9, 2023
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Connecting with nature is a simple way to improve your overall health and well-being. In fact, among 952 studies examining the connection between nature and human health, mental health outcomes improved across 98%, physical health outcomes improved across 83%, and cognitive health outcomes improved across 75% of studies. 

Connecting with nature can be as easy as stepping outside and smelling the fresh air. Yet, somehow, many of us are “too busy” to pause for a deep breath or admire the beautiful natural scenery around us. Sometimes, all it takes is a reminder of how beneficial nature can be if we take the time to truly appreciate it. Read on to learn about fifteen ways to connect with nature.

1. Be Present When Outdoors

Most of us go outside every day, whether it’s for a short walk to the car or a long hike in the mountains. Regardless of why you’re outside (or for how long), take advantage of any fresh air you can get. Truly be present when you step outdoors, and get in tune with your senses. Smell the flowers or the rain. Feel the wind as it brushes against your skin. Admire the vibrant colors of the changing leaves. Listen to the birds singing and bugs chirping. Grounding yourself in the present moment while outside can elevate your experience.

Yoga, High Angle View, Mature Women, Deck, Exercising

Practicing mindfulness while outdoors can help you feel more in touch with nature.

©iStock.com/Daisy-Daisy

2. Practice Earthing Techniques

Earthing, also called grounding, is a form of connecting with the Earth, typically through direct contact. This can look like standing barefoot in the dirt or grass, lying on the ground, or submerging yourself in the ocean or other bodies of natural water.

Multi-disciplinary research has revealed that electrically conductive contact of the human body with the surface of the Earth (grounding or earthing) produces intriguing effects on physiology and health. Such effects relate to inflammation, immune responses, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

a barefooted woman in ethnical clothes carries in her hand a clay jug

Walking barefoot on the ground can actually contribute to your overall well-being.

©Evgeny Haritonov/Shutterstock.com

3. Get Creative

Nature can spark inspiration and creativity because it often elicits a sense of awe. Have you ever looked out at the ocean or up at the sky and realized just how small you really are — how small we all are? Maybe it made you realize the insignificance of your anxieties or frustrations. It helped you disconnect from the busy monkey mind, allowing you to breathe, if just for a minute.

It’s in these moments when you are able to still your mind that you can more easily tap into your creative side. Without dwelling on your to-do list or thinking about how others will perceive you, let your mind wander and think creatively. As you do this, you can sit in the grass or with your feet in the water. Paint a picture, write a poem, take a photograph, or hum a tune. Whatever you feel called to create, create it — and do it for yourself.

Painting with watercolors

Honing your creativity in an outdoor setting is a great way to connect with nature.

©iStock.com/SeventyFour

4. View Wildlife

If you’re an animal lover, wildlife viewing is a great way to connect with nature. You can view and admire wildlife in a variety of ways. For instance, hike through different habitats. You can also simply sit in your yard and watch animals or insects go about their lives. If you’re serious about wildlife viewing, consider using tools like binoculars for clearer views or field guides for easier identification. Additionally, you might consider waking up earlier or planning your viewing according to the seasons, finding the ideal time to watch the animals you adore most.

People Safari Africa Elephant wildlife nature savanna open vehicle close animal encounter tourist tourism travel woodland greater Kruger National Park

Many people book wild safari drive-throughs to admire wildlife.

©jacobeukman/iStock via Getty Images

5. Plant a Garden

Gardening is a great way to connect with nature. Whether you want to plant a flower garden or fresh veggies in your yard, first research the types of plants you’d like to grow. Educate yourself on the proper climate, environment, and growing tips for the specific plants, then choose the right location in which they can flourish. For example, you might look for a spot in your yard or community garden that gets enough sunlight.

Once your garden begins growing, you’ll likely feel a sense of pride. Simply being outside among your plants, digging in the soil, smelling their sweet scents, or harvesting your vegetables will help you feel more in touch with nature. 

Farmer giving granulated fertilizer to young tomato plants. Gardening in vegetable garden

If you have the space, consider planting a garden of your favorite vegetables or plants in your yard for a more immersive experience with nature.

©encierro/Shutterstock.com

6. Go Birdwatching

Birdwatching is another great way to connect with nature and wildlife. Birds are remarkable creatures with fascinating patterns, from nesting to communicating with one another. To embark on your own birdwatching journey, research local birding destinations near you, such as recreational areas or parks. Be sure to bring binoculars and cameras to capture the beautiful birds!

Oftentimes, birdwatching doesn’t even require you to travel. In fact, if you purchase a bird feeder and place it outside your window, you can birdwatch from the warmth and comfort of your own home. Additionally, if you live by nature, take a peek outside your window. You’re bound to see a bird or two fluttering about!

bird watching

There are many opportunities to birdwatch, many of which don’t even require you to leave your home.

©iStock.com/:Rawpixel

7. Walk, Run, or Hike Through Nature

An obvious way to connect with nature is to take a walk, run, or hike through nature trails. Research the best trails in your area, and plan a day of adventuring for yourself or your loved ones. While following the path, be sure to “stop and smell the roses.” Pause for a moment to take in the beautiful scenery. If there are interpretive signs and displays along the trail, read and educate yourself about the area. Learn about different wildlife and plant species you might encounter. 

Additionally, don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Hug trees, pick up rocks, run your fingers through a creek, etc. Truly immerse yourself in the experience.

Rainbird Hiking Trail in Tongass National Forest in Ketchikan, Alaska. Sitka spruce, ferns, and rocky trail through temperate rain forest.

Simply walking through nature can do wonders for your body, mind, and spirit.

©EWY Media/Shutterstock.com

8. Gaze at the Stars

Stargazing is a wonderful way to connect with nature. If accessible, find a quiet spot in your town to lie on the ground and admire the beautiful night sky. Bring a romantic interest, a group of friends, or just yourself. You can use your unaided eye, binoculars, or telescopes to help improve your viewing experience. As you gaze at the many stars, bask in their magnificence and practice mindfulness, truly being present in the moment. Take deep breaths and know that you are part of the universe and all its glory.  

observing stars, planets, Moon and night sky

Not only is it a romantic experience to stargaze with a loved one, but it can also help you feel more connected to nature and the world around you.

©True Touch Lifestyle/Shutterstock.com

9. Sit in the Full Moonlight

Similar to stargazing, sitting in the light of the full moon can be an emotional and moving experience. Many people look at the moon in complete awe, especially when it’s full. The bright celestial entity controls our tides and changes phases throughout its 29.5-day cycle. In fact, many people even celebrate the different phases of the moon, mainly the new moon and full moon. Additionally, various cultures have been honoring the moon and its potent energy for ages. 

If you’re a fellow moonlover, find a spot where you can access the moonlight. Let it blanket you with peace and cleanse your mind of any troubles.

Full Hunter's Moon Cobscook Maine

Many believe the moon can impact our emotions and energy levels.

©Harry L/Shutterstock.com

10. Watch the Sunrise or Sunset

Admiring the sunrise or sunset is yet another way to connect with nature and bask in its beauty. Depending on where you live, you might even catch the sunrise or sunset over the ocean, lake, or other body of water, adding to its magnificence and awe. Plan a picnic with a loved one or take yourself on a solo date to journal as the sun comes up or goes down.

Galveston Fishing Pier at Sunrise

There’s no denying the beauty of a sunrise or sunset — especially over the water.

©David P. Hilss/iStock via Getty Images

11. Go for a Swim

Submerging yourself in water is a great way to connect with nature (and it’s also a great earthing tactic). Depending on where you live and any regulations in the area, you can swim in the ocean, a lake, or other body of water. In doing so, feel the water cool your body and let yourself float for a moment. Take deep breaths and remind yourself that you are connected to this Earth.

Senior man swimming in the Sea/Ocean - enjoying active retirement, having fun, taking care of himself, staying fit

By submerging yourself in water, you are practicing a form of “earthing” that can help connect you with nature.

©l i g h t p o e t/Shutterstock.com

12. Plan a Camping Trip

When was the last time you went camping? There are countless campsites across the country, and many people will even camp along road trips, stopping at various destinations. Even if you don’t consider yourself an “outdoorsy” person, you can rent a cabin in the woods or truck camp on the beach. If you’d rather not spend the night camping, simply make it a day trip where you immerse yourself in the wilderness. Then, head home to camp out in your backyard instead, roasting marshmallows around a bonfire.

Couple - Relationship, Star - Space, Sky, Campfire, Watching

Camping outdoors under the stars is a great way to peacefully connect with nature, especially since the world tends to be more quiet at nighttime.

©iStock.com/gorodenkoff

13. Educate Yourself About Nature

You can learn a lot about nature by exploring it yourself. However, there are also many different podcasts and books to help. Whether you want to educate yourself on wildlife in your area, begin studying plants and gardening, or simply learn more about the moon and other celestial objects, you’re bound to find extensive information on each topic. Follow what you’re most drawn to, and immerse yourself in the subject. 

Nature background with angelica flower at sunset. Big umbrella flower in golden light. Angelica flower macro.

There’s so much to learn about nature, and educating yourself will help you better appreciate the world around you.

©alpictures/Shutterstock.com

14. Decorate Your Home with Plants

Keeping plants around your home is a great way to connect with nature — without even needing to leave your home. Owning plants gives you something to care for and keep alive, which can elicit a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Additionally, it’s healthy to have plants within your living space, as they can reduce air pollutants and improve air quality.

monstera plant in a bi colored (olive and terra cotta)ceramic potion a wooden table with several smaller houseplants on the table in the background.

Houseplants contribute to a healthier environment.

©Firn/Shutterstock.com

15. Join an Environmental Organization 

A great way to connect with nature is to get involved with a local environmental organization or nature conservation group. Volunteering with such groups will offer a fulfilling way to bond with others while spending time in nature.

Conservation

Conservation efforts are crucial for maintaining the health of their ecosystems.

©sarayut_sy/Shutterstock.com

Summary of the Best Ways to Connect With Nature

Way to Connect With NatureDirections
Be Present When OutdoorsWhenever you step outside, ground yourself in the moment. Take a deep breath and get in touch with your senses, really taking in nature and all its glory. 
Practice Earthing TechniquesFind ways to physically connect with the earth, whether through swimming, standing or walking barefoot on the grass, or lying on the ground and absorbing the energy of the moon.
Get CreativeLet nature inspire a sense of awe as you get in touch with your creative side. Paint, write, dance, sing, and create art outdoors
Admire WildlifePlan a wildlife-watching venture, or simply pay more attention to the animals and insects in your own backyard. 
Plant a GardenPlant your favorite flowers or vegetables in your background garden or community garden so you can connect with vegetation while reaping its many benefits.
Go Bird WatchingVisit your local park or recreational area with a set of binoculars to observe various birds and their unique patterns. You can even do this from the comfort of your own home by watching birds on your feeder or admiring their nesting abilities in your outdoor plants.
Walk, Run, or Hike Through NaturePlan an outdoor adventure through your favorite nature trails, where you can admire the scenery and learn all about the area’s history and wildlife.
Gaze at the StarsStargaze in a dark area where you can access the bright glow of the starry night sky. Use binoculars or a telescope for a clearer viewing experience.
Sit in the Full MoonlightSit in awe under the full moon, allowing its energy to help you connect with the world and universe around you.
Watch the Sunrise or SunsetSet your alarm early in the day or schedule a sunset date to admire the gorgeous colors across the horizon. 
Go for a SwimWhether it’s in the ocean, a lake, or another body of water, submerge yourself in water and appreciate the way it feels against your skin.
Plan a Camping TripCamp at a local campsite, in a cabin deep in the forest, on the beach, or even in your own background. Pay attention to the familiar scents and sounds of nature as you drift to sleep under the night sky.
Educate Yourself About NatureRead books, listen to podcasts, and educate yourself about the many wonders of nature, from different wildlife to various plant species. 
Decorate Your Home with PlantsTreat yourself by purchasing an array of different plants to grow throughout your home. Keeping them alive and well will give you a sense of purpose and connection to nature — without you even having to leave your home.
Join a Nature Conservation GroupResearch ways you can get involved with local environmental organizations so you can spend more time in nature with like-minded, passionate individuals.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Andrei Stepanov/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Sammi is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering cats, nature, symbolism, and spirituality. Sammi is a published author and has been writing professionally for six+ years. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Writing Arts and double minors in Journalism and Psychology. A proud New Jersey resident, Sammi loves reading, traveling, and doing yoga with her little black cat, Poe.

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