Our friends at “Ding” Darling recently unveiled their new, self-guided Mindfulness Trail, the first experience of its kind to debut among any of the 560+ national wildlife refuges in the United States.
The Mindfulness Trail, a meditative nature experience, features five stations with QR codes that connect hikers to podcasts with guided meditations on nature and well-being. The 0.35-mile trail runs around the perimeter of Ani Marsh, a popular wildlife-spotting area at Bailey Tract.
The podcasts start with one by Dr. Joe Blanda, a recently retired orthopedic surgeon, who talks about the wellness benefits of being outside — ranging from lowering blood pressure to preventing obesity and diabetes.
“Best of all, it’s easily accessible, free, and there are no bad side effects,” Dr. Blanda says. “Most importantly, it’s proven by science that it works. More than one thousand studies confirm the health benefits of being outdoors.”
Four other calming podcasts guide trail-users on the topics of grounding and mindful listening, viewing, and feeling. Each podcast runs about four minutes, easily available through smartphone technology.
The Mindfulness Trail evolved in response to the impact the pandemic was having on mental health. Connecting with nature has always had a calming effect, and we think you’ll agree that you can’t find a more beautiful spot in which to begin your own mindfulness routine.
To quote Hippocrates, “Nature is the best physician!”