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Turn To The Sun: Interview with Author Brittany Gowan

How often do you take a moment to just be with nature? For NYC-based author and thought-leader, Brittany Gowan, this is a core part of her existence.

With a hobbies heavy in plants, foliage, and photography, Brittany combines research and her education, including an MS in Applied Psychology, in her new book Turn to the Sun: Your Guide to Release Stress and Cultivate Better Health Through Nature to provide a strategic and nature-centered roadmap to brining the benefits of the natural world to our everyday lives as we cope with stress, anxiety, and change on a daily basis. The book brings us thoughtful mediations, neutral reflections, and positive ways to connect with nature as often as we can.

We had the opportunity to interview Brittany for the launch of her book and are excited to share some of her bite-sized wisdom with you below. Enjoy!

turn to the sun by brittany gowan

Turn To The Sun: Interview with Author Brittany Gowan

What is your favorite simple, actionable tip for managing stress on a busy day?

It’s remembering that your breath is an ever present resource and tool to retrieve calm. And you can begin to change the messages sent to your brain through just a few deep breaths throughout the day. Creating this calming interruption of your thoughts allows your mind and body to release stress and anxiety. 

How does nature help us reduce stress?

Connecting with nature helps to reduce our circulating levels of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Also, engaging with low wavelength colors like green promotes feelings of restfulness and calm. 

Often stress and anxiety tend to stick around in our rumination. But studies show that people tend to ruminate less after we’ve spent time with plants and nature. 

Is there an easy way we can interact with nature on a daily basis?

In the rush of your busy day find a moment to pause, even for five minutes and be present to nature. This could mean a houseplant, trees in your backyard or if time allows, a visit to a local garden or park. Whatever is available to you. Practice mindfulness and increase your inner calm by exploring this natural scene with all your senses turned on. 

Release other distractions by keeping your phone out of sight and just allow yourself to notice the different shades of green and observe any other colors of leaves and flowers. Pay attention to the patterns and textures in nature and when other thoughts come to mind let them gently pass by. This is a rewarding act of nature-centered mindfulness that helps support your health and daily happiness.

Brittany Gowan headshot
Author Brittany Gowan

I personally loved the “Persist” section of the book that refers to Giant Sequoias and fire. How can we embrace these cyclic processes in our own lives when it comes to our personal growth and self development?

When we are confronted with difficult situations and challenges, many times this adversity also offers opportunities for personal growth because most likely we’ll need to find new ways to adapt or move forward. 

Embracing a growth mindset during hard times is a skill that we can build. To begin I think it’s important to remember that life’s challenges will continue to arise but no matter what occurs, a new version of yourself will bloom from what you have gone through.

So just like the nature I write about in the Persist section, sometimes we have to hold tight through a storm. We have to protect ourselves and let go of our expectations. And no matter where we are or what is going on in our lives, when we approach the natural world with mindful awareness, it’s easier to reflect nature’s persistence and see ways to be more resilient in our thoughts and actions. 

One of my favorite parts of the book was the included meditations. How often should someone practice these to see benefits?

Thank you! It was a joy for me to include the meditations. The goal is for readers to include these meditations into their daily routines. To form a new positive habit we need to make practices achievable and sustainable.

For one person this could mean reading and embodying one of these meditations in the morning. For another it could mean dedicating a particular night before bed to practice a longer meditation. Either way, the key is to create an environment where nature-centered meditations can be a lasting part of your daily life.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I truly believe that no matter who you are or what is happening, nature can help to restore your calm. And even when we can’t physically be in nature, we can always keep nature close by imagining a natural setting and experiencing it in our minds. And it is my hope that as we grow our connection with the natural world and feel one with nature, we will also increase our care and protection of the planet.

Turn To The Sun Book

Turn To The Sun is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble! A huge thank you to Brittany Gowan for chatting with us. Follow her on Instagram for more peaceful moments, plants, and life in NYC.

About the Author

Nicole Booz

Nicole Booz is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of GenTwenty, GenThirty, and The Capsule Collab. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and is the author of The Kidult Handbook (Simon & Schuster May 2018). She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s probably hiking, eating brunch, or planning her next great adventure.