Modern day stress has forced many people to explore different ways of coping. One such way is spending time outdoors. The research on this connection between health and nature has been steadily increasing and current results show that there is a strong connection between positive psychological effects and those who spend time in nature. While a direct causal relationship may not take place for a while, one can deduce that being in green spaces helps our mind be more present.
Japanese people use the term Shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) to describe the act of being nature as a way to relax and heal. Japan developed Shinrin-yoku in the 1980s and have since implemented a public health program that includes over 60 Forest Therapy Camps for its people. Forest bathing combine mindfulness with nature and it forces the participants to slow down and really notice their surrounding. This technique is different from a walk or a hike because it usually lasts 2-4 hours and only covers about half of a mile. Shinrin-yoku states that to truly connect with nature, one must not treat the outdoors as a way to burn calories or get your exercise, but to take in fully all that nature offers. This can include touching, smelling, noticing and engaging all your senses to the green space.
If 2–4 hours in a small green space doesn’t sound like something you’d want to do on a weekend, you don’t have to. If you just take these sentiments to heart and spend more time slowing down your thoughts and your actions while walking a trail at a nearby park, that is enough. The best time to take these walks is right after it rains, as the air is more crisp and the cooling breeze will remind you that life is abundant and peaceful. As you walk and take your breaths, just remember to notice all the animals, the sounds, the trees, and for a moment…….just be.
Steps to practicing Shirin-yoku and more readings on this below:
5. Steps to Forest Bathing: https://bit.ly/2Ghb2yo