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Cultivating Mindfulness in the Parks

by Sarah Cushman Slavin
Bering Land Bridge National Preserve - NPS Photo

From enjoying the backyard to the backcountry, our partner EVOLVE Plant-Based Protein has tips on how to slow down, be present, and make the most of your time outdoors. EVOLVE and the National Park Foundation (NPF) work together to connect people to everything outside has to offer, helping people discover their own connections to the parks.

Mindfulness is the concept that being present in the moment, without feelings of judgment or distraction, can have a positive impact on our lives. It can help decrease levels of stress and create space for loving and lasting memories. Whether you are checking out an urban park close to home or planning your next cross-country adventure, parks can offer the opportunity to pause, reflect, and enjoy the people and places in the present moment.

These tips on cultivating mindfulness aim to help us escape the hustle and bustle of daily life and take it all in:


hikers walk along a path

Hikers in Bryce Canyon National Park

Shutterstock / dubarev mikhail

From the checklist to the bucket list, it can be easy to get caught up in finding all the biggest landmarks when you are in a new, unfamiliar place. Put the ‘to do list’ mentality on pause for your next trip to the parks. Who knows what you may discover when you allow your mind to wander on the journey, knowing the destination will come in due time.


Two hikers rest on a grassy hill

Hikers at the Kahuku Unit of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park

NPS Photo / J. Wei

Find moments of joy and stillness throughout your time outdoors or in a park. Stop to absorb a viewpoint off the beaten path. Nourish your body with a snack to power up for an afternoon of adventuring. Tune into the present moment and open yourself up to whatever that may be.


Two kids look up at a redwood, with their arms outstretched

Redwood National and State Parks

iStock / Yaya Ernst

There are few things as grounding as tapping into the senses to anchor yourself in the moment. Forest bathing is one way to do so, but the techniques aren’t limited to being in the woods. Wherever you are, placing heightened attention on the scene around you can allow you to find presence in a whole new way. Our sense of sound offers the opportunity to experience places in a different way, from the sound of leaves crunching and kids playing, the smell of a campfire or a splash park, to the feeling of tree bark in your hand.


Two women looking out on Grand Teton National Park, one with her arm around the other and one arm pointing outwards.

Grand Teton National Park

iStock / Kubrak78

There is nothing as special as time spent with the people we love. Start a dialogue about what you are seeing, feeling, and hearing. Connecting with your companions about their experience will allow you to see outdoor spaces and places through the eyes of your family and friends.


A hiker looks out at a scenic overview

Zion National Park

Unsplash / Vince Fleming

Don’t wait for your next trip to a park to find a mindful moment. There are opportunities every day to experience the benefits of nature and mindfulness. Listening to nature sounds provides tranquility and peace. Tune in to the relaxing sounds of the parks through PARKTRACKS. Inhale, exhale: placing a focus on your breathing can calm your nervous system and ground you in the moment at hand.

From fresh air to a fresh perspective, mindful moments abound in the parks. Our partner EVOLVE believes in the power of the parks to inspire peace and tranquility. The outdoors brings out the best in all of us and EVOLVE has bottled up that outdoor feeling in their plant-based protein products inspired by the parks we love most. EVOLVE shakes are the perfect companion for outdoor activities, featuring a delicious formula with 20 grams of plant-based protein and 10 grams of fiber. NPF and EVOLVE are proud to work together to preserve and protect the outdoors for all.

Close up on Joshua Trees
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