I Live in a Busy City but Take Calming 'Nature Walks' Thanks to This Meditation App

Connecting with nature changed the game for my mental health. 

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Young Asian businesswoman taking a break in urban park in the city. Enjoying the gentle breeze with her eyes closed, resting in the middle of a work day
Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images

Living in a big city, just like everything else in life, comes with its pros and cons. In my case, settling down in a bustling neigborhood in Los Angeles has allowed me to experience art, nightlife, culture, beaches — you name it — but it rarely offers any peace and quiet. L.A.'s zen and calm persona goes right out the window when you step into my side of town. So, since connecting with nature and being in a quiet space isn't something I get to do on a daily basis, I've turned to meditative practices and mindfulness prompts to give me some of the relaxation I've been craving.

To get started on my mindfulness journey, I explored a few different mindfulness platforms, but none really stood out to me — until I was given the opportunity to try an app called MyLife. When I first used the app, I expected to be welcomed with a couple of guided meditations and breathing exercises; the usual stuff. But I quickly learned that MyLife offers a much wider range of meditative practices than I'd imagined. And just as I was in search of more grounding exercises, specifically ones that brought me closer to nature, I came across MyLife's "Connecting with Nature" journey — and it turned out to be just what I needed.

To give you some background, here's how MyLife works: As soon as you open the app, you're asked to share how you're feeling in that moment. It then suggests a few activities and other exercises that you'd probably like based on said emotions, but you can also look through the "explore" tab for other themes to explore. However, my favorite feature is the "journey" tab, which includes curated collections of mindfulness activities that don't need to be completed in a certain order or amount of time.

MyLife App
Courtesy of MyLife

This is what brought me to the Connecting with Nature journey, which takes you through seven different practices for seven days. I kicked things off with a minute of relaxing forest sounds on day one, and on day two, I moved onto the visualization portion, a 10-minute guided meditation that focused on grounding and explained how humans are connected to nature.

The third day, a walking meditation, was my favorite. I walk everywhere, but my usual strolls through downtown L.A. aren't typically the most relaxing experiences, so this felt very new to me. After popping my earbuds in, I spent the next 10 minutes listening to the walking meditation prompt while taking a different route than usual. When it was over, I wanted to do it all over again — so much so, that I moved onto the next prompt. It was technically for the following day, but I really wanted to stay in the zen zone I had finally found.

MyLife App
Courtesy of MyLife

To buy: my.life, $10 a month or $59 a year

Since then, I've completed the journey for all seven days, but I've gone back to the walking meditation at least twice a week. Meditating was something that I struggled with for so long because I simply didn't know where to start, but MyLife changed that right off the bat by asking how I was feeling that day. And though the nature walks happened to be a game-changer for me, there are options for many different concerns and lifestyles.

If you're craving a fresh approach to meditation, consider downloading MyLife on Apple or Android devices to see if it works for you like it did for me.

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