The Benefits of Forest Walking: Connecting with Nature for a Healthier Life
Link to my bush walk
In Japan, people have learned the art of forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku. Shinrin literally translates to “forest” and yoku means “bath.” Taken together, the phrase shinrin-yoku means immersing oneself in the natural environment or using the senses to experience the forest. This method has become increasingly popular across the globe.
Benefits of Forest Bathing:
1. Reduced Stress: Forest bathing can help to reduce stress and improve overall emotional wellbeing.
2. Improved Concentration: Spending time in nature can help to clear your mind and boost your concentration.
3. Improved Immune System: Forest bathing can help to boost the immune system and reduce inflammation.
4. Increased Energy Levels: Connecting with nature can help to energize and rejuvenate the body.
5. Improved Physical Health: Spending time in nature can help to improve physical health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Want to try forest bathing? All you have to do is find a spot with trees and leave your phone and camera behind. Walk slowly and without purpose. Let your body be your guide and follow your nose. There's no need to rush—enjoy the sounds, smells, and sights of nature. This is all about taking it slow and allowing the forest in. You don't need to get anywhere—you're just savoring the moment.
The key to unlocking the mystery and power of the forest lies in the five senses. Let nature fill your ears, eyes, nose, mouth, hands, and feet. Listen to the birds chirp and the wind blowing through the foliage. Appreciate the many greens of the trees and watch as sunlight streams through them. Inhale the aromas of the forest, letting its natural aromatherapy rejuvenate you. Taste the freshness of the air as you breathe deeply. Place your hands on a tree trunk or dip your fingers or toes in a stream. Lay on the ground and let yourself become one with nature. Drink in this flavor of the outdoors and bask in a state of joy and serenity. This is your sixth sense: a state of mind that comes with connecting with nature. Now you have crossed over to happiness.
It doesn't matter what the weather is like or where you are; you can forest-bathe anywhere as long as there are trees nearby. If there are no forests around, you can still practice shinrin-yoku in a park or your garden. All you need to do is find a spot with trees and you're ready to go!
If appropriate, take off your shoes and socks and walk around barefoot. This will help you to connect with the energy of the earth and ground yourself. Take a few deep breaths and allow yourself to relax. You can practice mindfulness by focusing on the different sights, sounds, and smells of nature. Spend time sitting or lying down and allow yourself to observe the forest. Notice the different plants and animals around you, and take in the beauty of the environment.
When you are ready, take a few moments to reflect and perhaps journal on the experience. Connect with the energy of the forest and allow yourself to be present in the moment.
To discuss your lifestyle goals, including forest bathing email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
For an immersive soundscape of a New Zealand bush walk I took this week, click on this link: https://www.dropbox.com/t/kgAueBS0oCOn0B1c
Medical empirical research on forest bathing (Shinrin-yoku): a systematic review
Psychological Benefits of Walking through Forest Areas
6 Surprising Health Benefits of Walking Through a Forest