The links between a healthy environment and a healthy community are seemingly endless – but one of the strongest health benefits of nature is on mental health.
While we could point you to much research on the links between nature and human wellbeing, this old proverb sums up much of what we know:
Fresh air impoverishes the doctor – Danish Proverb
Centennial Parklands can improve your mental health
Centennial Parklands is much more than just grass, trees, buildings and wildlife. The Parklands was created initially for the people of Sydney to, as they quaintly put it, “take in the air”. This place was created to improve public health, and over 125 years later, it still plays that role.
We could recommend a nice walk in the park, we could highlight nice park benches, we could even talk about the best times of day to visit for a mind-improving experience, however we now have an alternative to share with you.
The Centennial Park Labyrinth.
What is a Labyrinth?
A labyrinth is not a maze (nor is it a slightly dodgy mid-1980s fantasy movie starring David Bowie!).
A labyrinth is a simple contemplative pathway. Unlike a maze, which has several different pathways, a labyrinth has only one path and there are no dead ends, so you can’t get lost. A maze is an intellectual exercise but a labyrinth is a spiritual one.
A labyrinth is not exclusively a Christian or pagan concept. It is a universal and non-denominational symbol, used by many different cultures over 4,000 years.
This article from the Sydney Morning Herald gives an insight into labyrinths, but instead of reading about it, we recommend you come visit it!
How do you use the labyrinth?
There’s really no wrong way or right way to walk a labyrinth. Some walk it slow, some fast and some even dance it…- Emily Simpson, Centennial Park Labyrinth founder
According to Emily Simpson, there are three phases to a labyrinth walk:
- Releasing on the way in – letting go of the distractions of your day
- Receiving a sense of peace and calm as you pause in the centre
- Resolving a new way of being in the world as you follow the same path back out of the labyrinth.
Improving your mental health
- Before you walk the labyrinth you may want to sit quietly and reflect. Some people come with questions, others just to slow down and take time out from a busy life. Some come to find the strength to take the next step during times of grief and loss.
- Its winding path becomes a metaphor for our journey and where we find ourselves on our personal path. It offers us a threshold to cross, helping us leave behind what no longer serves and quite literally, step into the new.
- If you find sitting meditation challenging, then walking meditation is an easy way into that same peaceful place – an easy way to quiet the mind and open the heart. Its an old fashioned slow-cooking form of contemplation.
Head to our Centennial Park Labyrinth webpage for more details and its location in the Parklands.