I'm going to start by saying that I believe IRL nature walks are generally more benefitial to us humans than is the at-home version that I'm going to go over. It's difficult, if not impossible, to get the same benefits of breathing the fresh air of a forest that's likely infused with the calming scent of various trees (the Pinewood tree comes to mind here) in the surrounding area. On top of that, you really can't re-create the beauty of actually being in the middle of healthy forest, that's teeming with life along all spectrum of plants and organisms - some would say that the forest, itself, is alive! The fact of the matter is that these are things that one simply can't fully mimic by watching a high-res nature-walk video.
That said, I do see several pros when it comes to watching nature from home (vs actually out in nature), top among them being:
1.) You get the added peace of mind of being at home, presumably safe from some of the dangers associated by actually being out in nature (eg animal attacks, getting lost, having to deal with weather, risks associated with being around people in a setting that's removed from the protections of a city, etc.). This added peace of mind may help some to take in the beauty a bit more fully, and to a relax a bit more than they may achieve by physically being in a real forest setting, particularly if they get anxiety over any of the perceived dangers that I mentioned (and perhaps some others that I failed to note, as well).
2.) It's more convenient, as you don't have to set aside as much time to have the experience of observing nature (don't even have to leave your home), which may require a long commute for some.
3.) It's away from people! This may be a resounding con to some of you out there, but a blessing to folks out there whom, much like myself, experience bouts of severe social anxiety.
4.) You can't reproduce the physical comfort of being in your favorite sofa when out-and-about in some plot of plants and trees. This can help us to deepen our meditative state, to some degree... or it may not. We may get a deeper sense of being present and/or "mindful" by actually being out in nature, but we can't really know which is the case without trying them both out to compare the two.
And I'm sure there are even more reasons to opt for watching nature in TV form over physically being there, but the four that I've mentioned are sufficient enough for me to often (in fact, more often than not) choose the former over the latter.
Onto the Virtual Nature-Walk Meditation:
I want to first say that these same steps can be applied to IRL nature walks, with the exception being that you have to literally (physically) walk when you're actually out in nature... doing a nature-walk (well, duh, right?).
The key is to RELEASE from worries/ stress/ tension, both before going into this "healing session", if you don't mind me referring to it as such, and while doing the actual meditation, which I'm now going to get into.
1.) Find a nature-walk video with as beautiful of scenery and nature sounds as you can find, preferably with a high resolution video (at least 1080p, but 4K is even better, should your TV support that resolution). It should be at least a 10 minute long video and without video loops (w/out replaying the same scenes), but the longer the better.
A current favorite of mine is the following YouTube video (feel free to use it for yourself):
2.) The idea here is to get as close to real as possible, aiming to re-create the experience of actually being out in nature, physically walking there with your own two feet. So, it should look like the real thing (hence, opt for 4K if possible), sound as real as possible (therefore, we should go for videos that capture the real sounds that came with the footage), and just generally feel as real as possible.
One thing that could help is cracking open a window to let in some "fresh air" (assuming that the air quality outside your home is actually of good quality), which may be particularly effective if you do have trees (especially pines) nearby. You could also try an "essential oil diffuser" w/ pine essential oil, but I'll leave that up to you.
3.) As you first start watching the video, try to see if you can convince yourself that you're actually there, doing the stepping - walking through that forest that you see. One way that might help you to get there is to try to focus as much as you can on the sense of beauty that you get by concentrating on everything that's captured in that footage, along with its audio (all the greenery, lush plant life, chirping birds, etc.).
It may also help to do a bit of deep breathing exercises (such as the 4-7-8 breathing technique, which I've personally found to be of great benefit when it comes to deepening my sense of being calm and centered).
4.) Make it a point to let go of all your worries! This is probably the most important thing to accomplish with this exercise. Unfortunately, it's also generally the toughest part, and can be a bit tricky to accomplish, as our consciousness can be a very complex and mysterious thing to work around, particularly if we're holding onto a lot of stress/ anxiety/ fear/ etc.
But it CAN be done! It just might require a bit of patience, and perhaps a bit of experimentation on our part.
Some ways that can help include what I already mentioned in #3 (focusing on the beauty of nature and using breathing exercises). Another way to get there is to simply turn our focus around to observing the "mental phenomena" of the thinking, sensations, and emotions that we can observe, and notice taking place, while the stress/ anxiety is happening (and also being noticed).
In fact, the latter suggestion (observing our own mental/ emotional processes) is something that I'm going to include as an important step to this nature-walk meditation, regardless of if you've achieved a state of relative calmness and/or mental clarity by any other means.
Processing our thoughts and emotions is KEY to psychological/ emotional health. Thus, giving some attention to noticing and acknowledging that these mental phenomena are happening, perhaps including some thoughts and emotions that we don't particularly like, is an integral component to healing in a deep, positively transformative way.
So, while you're losing yourself a bit in the beauty of that scene before you - as you grow calmer and less attached to your general sense of suffering, however subtle it may have been before or how subtle it appears now - give a bit of your attention to the goings-on of your mind. Calmly observe the mental phenomena that naturally call to your attention - things that cause you general distress (stress/ tension/ anxiety/ fear).
See if you can notice some "space" or "distance" between your "observing self" and those thoughts/ emotions that are causing the commotion. I will say here that it is a GOOD THING if you can manage this much, but fear not if you don't achieve this in just your first go at it. This may require some time and patience on our end.
5.) Always try to keep some of your focus/ attention on the forest scenery in the video. Make it as effortless as you can manage, but aim at always feeling that sense of wonder/ awe/ beauty that observing nature provides to you. But, at the same time, try to observe your "mental environment" (current thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc); again, while still aiming to be grounded in that sense of wonder and awe at the beauty of nature (which, presumably, instills a sense of peace and calmness).
What we're trying for here is the sense of being firmly grounded to feelings of peace and well-being, while simultaneously observing the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that are causing us to suffer. It's a method to psychologically process what all goes into making us suffer in the ways that we do, particularly on the psychological side of our suffering.
These details can be VERY subtle and nuanced, and even hidden behind years of psychological suppression, so don't be surprised if nothing seems to surface or become apparent to you, and don't fool yourself by thinking or expecting that everything will be made known to you, or healed, all at once.
This is a process that may require many future meditations and/or time spent in this "mode" (being present to our own psychological suffering in a deep, healing manner).
6.) If it ever feels like things are getting too intense or distressing, you can always fall back on the beautiful scenery provided by the video - re-directing all of your attention back to the sounds and visuals coming from your TV, while playing that video. Ground yourself again in that sense of beauty and awe that the sounds and images of that video provide for you.
You can also go back to the breathing exercise(s) that work best for you, to help calm you down and center you (in the present moment).
7.) If you feel sufficiently peaceful and strong enough to go forward with looking more deeply at your thinking processes, particularly any beliefs, fears, doubts, memories, feelings, etc, that feed into negative feelings inside of you, or cause you to behave in ways that are in any way(s) detrimental to your own health, or the health of others, then, may the power of the Universe be with you, and on your side!
By ALL means, please find it in yourself to take those steps forward!
This can, and likely will, represent a kind of starting point to your "full-recovery" - into being the best and brightest individual that you're capable of being! This, very importantly, includes being at your full-health, in the psychological sense of that term.
Of course, this "path to health/ recovery", if you will, may have some potholes along the way, and perhaps even a few downed limbs that make your walk a little less than ideal. It may be a longer walk, both in time and distance, than you first imagined, or it may not. You can only know by taking the steps, yourself.
And the choice starts NOW! Right now! Here, in this very moment, as you sit there, watching the beautiful images presented on the screen before you (even now, as you read these words on the screen!). The choice is ALWAYS there for you, in EVERY moment. Be aware of this important TRUTH.
8.) Use your intuition to decide for you how long you should stick with doing this meditation. You may find it extremely uncomfortable after only 10 minutes, but even that may not be enough to convince us to stop, if we feel like we're making real headway into some type of (deep, meaningful) healing and/or insight(s).
I generally aim for at least 15-minute sessions, but, should one's schedule not allow for such a length of time, anything more than 0 seconds given to this is better than opting out altogether. Make as much time for this as your life, and all its daily obligations, allow.
Your soul will much thank you for it!
Peace, love, and joy to you and yours 😊
Thanks for your time, and good luck with all of your endeavors. May you heal and be healthy, and happy, to the highest of your potential!