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How forest bathing can help with stress

Updated: Aug 13, 2022


Forest bathing is a Japanese practice known as shinrin yoku. This form of forest therapy includes being calm and quiet amongst the trees and observing nature. It is called forest bathing because one needs to spend time in the forest absorbing the forest atmosphere. The act does not include any real type of bathing using water.

Forest bathing doesn't include walking or hiking for miles. All it needs is your presence in the forest in silence. Since its low impact, anyone can do it, from adults to children. The main goal of this practice is to be present at the moment and immerse your senses, sights, and sounds.

How to do forest bathing

Just because it's called forest bathing, it doesn't mean that you'll have to go to a heavily wooded area to practice this form of meditation. You can go to your local park or go to a nearby trail, beach, lake, or any natural setting. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Turn off or silence any devices you have with you. The goal of forest bathing is to relax, be mindful, and enjoy the forest atmosphere with all your senses. Having a phone on won't allow you to live in the moment and enjoy it.

  • When moving through the forest, slow down so you can feel and see more.

  • Once you have arrived at the spot you most desire, you can now start taking in deep breaths. Extend your exhalation twice as much as your inhalation (this will make your body relax).

  • You can stand, sit, and start observing your senses like the trees around you, the scent, and start feeling more. Check-in with yourself (how does the environment make you feel?), pay attention to small details.

  • As you sit silently in the forest, avoiding giving in to your chattering thoughts. Pay attention to your surroundings, and don't think about your to-do list or other worries you have.

  • Keep your eyes open and take in your surroundings. The forest colors and textures can be very soothing.

How forest bathing can help with stress

A study showed that when people walked in the forest, their heartbeat rates decreased and reduced negative psychological symptoms. If you are wondering what forest bathing feels like, it's the same as taking your favorite bubble bath after a long day. It relaxes the whole of your body and allows you to rest at that moment.

According to research, the more people spend time in nature, their problem-solving abilities increase by 50%. When people go on forest baths, they have fewer distractions which for the most part is caused by technology. The lack of distraction causes the mind to think better and deeper.

Forest bathing has also been proven to help with;

  • Increasing performance and creativity: Due to our society's highly immersed in technology, most people have minor problem-solving abilities. A study showed that at least four days of forest bathing immersion could increase performance and creativity since the participants were no longer distracted by technology.

  • Improving your mood: A study reported that forest bathing decreased symptoms of depression in those participants with depressive tendencies since it changed their moods by strengthening them.

  • Boosting the immune system: According to research, spending time in nature helps in boosting natural killer activity in the cells, which helps boost the immunity in the body. These natural killer cells help fight diseases.

  • Reducing high blood pressure: Studies prove that practicing effective forest therapy or forest bathing programs has excellent effects. Even a single forest bathing walk can have immense impacts on middle-aged and older people who might have pre-hypertension or hypertension. The program also has short-term psychological and physiological effects on the body.

  • Accelerating recovery after illness: Many studies have proven that nature and forests are good for accelerating the rate at which patients heal. That is why many hospitals have gardens and hospital forests to give patients a realistic view and ease their mental strain, speeding up the healing process.

Conclusion

Forest bathing is an excellent form of therapy that can significantly help boost your mental, physical, and emotional well-being. If possible, you can go forest bathing at least once a week. This can be a way of de-stressing your body and mind and also getting a mental release. After a long week of dealing with so many people and the daily stresses we undergo, it is better to go out and release all this stress. If you have never tried forest bathing, you should try it once and see how you feel.

Are you ready to kickstart your health to achieve higher levels of consciousness, awakening, and self-awareness?

If you want to spend more time outdoors, you can join Sunshine Paradise Retreat for a private, one-on-one retreat to target your goals. The days will be full of yoga, meditation, hiking, walking, swimming, sound healing with Tibetan singing bowls, breathwork, journaling, intention setting, arts and crafts, and organic meal plans. As well as full access to the 4 acres of property with a 24-hour saltwater hot tub, soaking pool, and outdoor hybrid sauna.

Written By: Catherine Kakenya



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