This is all about the forest.
This is all about you.
Healing and transformation are inherent in forests. Taking a walk through a forest and experiencing it’s noises, sights, smells, and textures can help you escape the stresses of everyday life. Your senses become more aware. Throughout history, many cultures have benefited from forest bathing, from Japanese gardeners to Native Americans.
Forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku, is immersing yourself in the forest for a short period for relaxation, restoration, stress reduction, and general well-being. Researchers discovered that spending just a few minutes in a forest environment – or any natural setting – can refresh the mind and body.
As you walk in the forest, you will engage all five senses individually and in unison. What would you like to accomplish using your senses of touch, sight, scent, taste, and hearing while in a forest?
As you start exploring all your senses, you slowly begin to drop out of your head and notice how bright the colors are or how sharp the smell is. After walking in a forest for 20 minutes, your immune system will increase by 54%. Because it is so simple, this practice is becoming increasingly popular. It is also accessible on multiple levels. It is accessible financially. You get yourself to a park and go for a walk. It is also accessible so that you do not need to move a lot. Whether you are fit or have mobility issues, you can do forest bathing. Try it with an open heart and a sense of wonder. Are you ready?
Engage one of your five senses
Close your eyes and take a couple of deep breaths. Then shake off the road dust of the different things you must do to go into the forest bathing.
Invitation to use the sense of smell
And now, with your eyes closed, give attention to the importance of smell. When animals go through the forest, they take short sniffs and turn their head from side to side. Focus if you can pick up some of the aroma hanging in the air.
Deep into the woods
Imagine when you look up at the trees and canopies and see all the branches are interconnected. That’s what is happening under your feet. All those roots are going out, touching, and connecting. Imagine sending a message to anyone in the world through that web of roots.
Find that tree
Wander around the forest and look for the tree calling you. Once you find a tree, you should sit beside the tree for 15-20 minutes. Get yourself comfortable and send your message out. Take a moment and see if you get a response and reflect on the experience.
But what exactly is forest bathing, and how can it benefit your overall health? Here are some:
It can improve your immune system and reduce inflammation in your body.
Studies show that spending time in nature can boost your immune system by increasing natural killer cells, which fight off viruses and bacteria. Those who had access to green spaces during their recesses were less likely to get sick than those who did not.
Exposure to nature improves your mood
Getting out into nature lowers your cortisol levels (a stress hormone) and increases oxytocin levels (a bonding hormone). Studies have found that patients suffering from depression or anxiety disorders can use exercise to feel less anxious and more connected with others.
Forest bathing can lower the risk of cancer.
Inhaling a compound released by the forest during a walk once a month may help lower your risk of certain cancers.
Nature exposure helps you focus on the present moment.
You no longer have to worry about what time you’ll pick up your kids or complete your bank errands when you do that. You can drop all that cerebral world and plunge into the sensory world for two and a half hours. It is where rest kicks in, and happy hormones flow. Also, spending time in nature makes you feel more awe. It makes you feel connected to yourself, others, and the environment.
Take a deep breath, inhale the fresh air of the forest and exhale the stresses and worries of everyday life. Sit with nature and tune in with yourself to see a different light. Immerse in the woods with undivided attention to reap the benefits. Get to know the forest while getting to know yourself better. Forest bathing is a unique and pleasurable experience that has the potential to become the cornerstone of our health and happiness. Let’s not miss out on this opportunity. If we don’t save our forests, we may never be able to reconnect with the richness and beauty of nature.
Let’s see what it would be like to unplug from our gadgets, get outside and breathe in the fresh air.
Nature is calling. Will you answer?