What exactly is forest bathing, and how is it beneficial?
Imagine taking a long, hot bubble bath in the middle of a tropical jungle with nothing but the soothing sounds of nature and the swaying of the leaves from the breeze. That's basically the ideal, right? Sorry to ruin your forest-themed relaxation session, but that's not what forest bathing is all about.
The origin of this trend is Japan (as is the case with most modern wellness movements, really). "Forest bathing," or "shinrin-yoku" as it's known in Japan, consists of spending time in a forest and letting the peaceful environment wash over you. And everybody knows that being in the open air and close to nature is healthy for you. In addition to the production of endorphins and a surge of vitamin D, trees also produce compounds called phytoncides, which have an anti-microbial impact on humans.
There is no doubt that spending time in nature improves our mood. Being outside in nature, even if just for a short period of time, has a profound effect on our mental and emotional well-being. This is true whether we are engaging in physical activity, commuting, walking the dog, or just relaxing in a park or garden. What we mean when we talk about "forest bathing" is simply spending time in nature and focusing on your surroundings. In order to take in the sounds of nature, such as birdsong, wind through the trees, and crunching leaves and branches. To take in the deep, earthy scents of the forest floor and the ever-changing aroma of the trees. To appreciate the sunshine filtering through the trees, the many hues of green, and the subtle details of the environment that often go undetected, one must slow down and look closely. To experience the wind in your hair and to compare the harsh bark of the trees to the soft, velvety moss. To take in great mouthfuls of the clean woodland air and savor its flavor.
The ability to do nothing
It’s true that not everyone has easy access to a forest, but the practice of "forest bathing" is actually just an expansion of awareness. Finding your happy place is more about making the effort to spend quality time there, unplugged from technology and unencumbered by time constraints or other obligations. It will teach you to be more self-aware, accept peace and live a more tranquil life.