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Discover your inner wild self

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

People often ask me what re-wilding is, in the context of personal development, and my response is to ask them whether they ever feel as if they’ve lost touch with the world around them? Do they ever feel overwhelmed by the tasks, people and technology that demand their attention every minute of the day? Modern living can be overwhelming and stressful, and this is where rewilding can help.

​In the context of conservation, re-wilding is simply the art of giving land back to nature and letting it return to its natural wild state, free from human interference. Over time, fields and gardens become wildflower meadows, then shrubby thickets, and eventually, back to woodland.

Is it just about “getting back to nature”? Well – that's a part of it. But re-wilding ourselves is so much more than spending time outdoors, though that is often a way to create a connection. Re-wilding is fundamentally about our relationship with nature and with ourselves. When we re-wild, we step away from the human-made pressures of our day to day lives, reducing our dependence on modern society and we start to remember that we are connected with, and part of, the world around us - the trees and plants, the animals and the land we live on.

Away from our phones and iPads, we quickly forget about social media and, instead, we learn to pay attention to our surroundings and reflect on what nature can teach us about ourselves. We start to listen to our own inner wisdom that we have largely forgotten, and we begin to remember who we are and where we have come from. We may hear the whispers of our ancestors as the wind blows in the trees. We may have a comfortable sense of knowing our place in the world. Or we may feel a sense of hiraeth – a delicious ancient Welsh word that describes a longing for a home, a place, or a feeling that no longer exists or never existed.

When we re-wild, we rediscover our sense of curiosity and allow ourselves to let go of our fears and anxieties. We shed the sense of isolation we might experience in our ordinary lives, and deepen our relationship with the whole world, giving us a sense of connection and belonging. We seek community and cooperation, instead competition and conflict. We feel a sense of balance and harmony as we learn to tread more lightly on the Earth and appreciate the gifts of nature.

And when we do that, we start to really appreciate what Nature gives us, and what we can give back.

There are many ways to re-wild yourself. Here are some suggestions to help you get started:

  • Spend time in the great outdoors – hiking, canoeing, wild swimming, get up early to sit up on a hill and watch the sun rise at the summer solstice - whatever takes your fancy. Not only are these ways to get fresh air and exercise, there are so many mental health benefits as well as boosting your natural immunity. Even simply sitting out in nature and just watching the world go by helps you slow down and tune into the natural rhythms of your body and the Earth.

  • Start foraging – there is little in life more satisfying than picking wild garlic or three-cornered leeks to accompany your next meal or making cordial from elderflowers you have picked yourself. Make sure you know what you are collecting, especially if you are planning to eat or drink it. The Picture This plant and tree ID app is handy to have on your phone, and is generally quite accurate however, I do recommend you get a second opinion if you’re unsure; why not join a “wild food” Facebook group for some friendly expert advice?

  • Take your foraging a step further and practise hedgerow medicine – our ancestors relied on nature for remedies for any number of common ailments and to promote wellbeing. Making your own herbal teas, salves and tinctures is not only a satisfying endeavour in itself, they are also very effective. I’ve recently made a willow bark tincture for headaches, and it works a dream!

  • Learn basic bushcraft skills; this is possibly one of the most empowering nature-based activities you can do: learning to make your own shelter, make fire and feed yourself from natural materials in the countryside gives you a real sense of being able to do anything! And why stop there? Why not learn to carve your own bowls and cups, or make longbows, or learn to knap flint? All this ancient knowledge and skills are just waiting to be remembered. I can personally recommend Woodland Ways in the UK for anyone who wants to develop their bushcraft and outdoor skills.

  • If you’re not up for survivalism, a really accessible way to re-wild yourself is to collect things from nature and use them to decorate your home or craft with – stones and shells can make beautiful displays; feathers can be used to make smudge fans for cleansing and leaves and flowers can be used to make mandalas. If collecting items from nature, be respectful and mindful not to take anything that would disrupt the environment or cause harm or distress to flora or fauna.

  • Practise forest bathing – the simple act of sitting quietly and calmly amongst the trees and mindfully observing nature around you. Based on the Japanese nature therapy of shinrin-yoku, just two hours of forest bathing can reduce blood pressure and stress levels, boost your immune system and improve your concentration and memory. Visit The Woodland Trust to find out where your nearest woodlands and forests are.

​At The Wild Edges, I draw on my experience of shamanic practice, psychology and the natural world to empower you to recognise your inner wisdom and learn to access it whenever you are in need of balance, healing or connection.

If you want to deepen your connection with nature, but aren’t sure where to start or what to do, The Wild Edges can help! Contact me at for an informal, no-obligation discovery session.

Joss Anderson is a qualified and experienced Shamanic Practitioner, Shamanic Reiki Master Practitioner and ICF-accredited coach, based in Cambridgeshire, UK and online.

© Joss Anderson; © The Wild Edges, 2022

© Joss Anderson; © The Wild Edges, 2022

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