Life can be full of stressors that we can’t control, but what we can control is how we handle those stressors. Going out into nature is one of the best ways to help your body and mind cope when life gets hard. One way to do this is by practicing forest bathing. Here, we explain what exactly forest bathing is – and the healing science behind it.
What Is Forest Bathing?
Forest bathing is a term that emerged in 1980’s Japan to designate the physiological and psychological exercise called shinrin-yoku (“taking in the forest atmosphere”). In the 1990’s, researchers started examining the health benefits of forest bathing.
Even if you consider yourself someone more of a city dweller, forest bathing is still for you. You don’t have to go to an actual forest; you can immerse yourself in nature via trail, park, or garden.
Mindfulness in Nature
When you forest bathe, use your senses to mindfully experience your surroundings. Take the time to notice the many colors and textures found in nature. Breathe in the different scents around you, from the trees to the flowers to the bodies of water. Listen to your surroundings – the breeze rustling leaves, birds chirping, or waves crashing. Feel the soil, which can help make your brain release serotonin.
Forest Bathing Alone or in a Structured Setting
Forest bathing is best done alone, as it’s a time for self-care away from everyone and everything. However, it can be hard at first to try forest bathing without guidance. In that case, you can join trained guides for meditative ecotherapy excursions.
Have you tried forest bathing? Share your experiences with us in the comments below!