As you start knowing me a bit better you will find my passion about Nature. Yes, I believe Nature is one of our most essential tools as kindful and mindful parents! And one of my favourites is Forest Bathing.
We all know how good being in nature can make us feel. We have known it for millennia. The sounds of the forest, the scent of the trees, the sunlight playing through the leaves, the fresh clean air – all these things give us a sense of comfort.
They ease our stress and worry, help us to relax and to think more clearly. Being in nature can restore our mood, give us back our energy and vitality, refresh and rejuvenate us.
Among the first people who find the scientific proof behind this are the Japanese researchers that study forest medicine. About 20 years ago they started their quest to find out all the ways in which walking in the forest can improve our well-being. This is how Forest Bathing or Shinrin-yoku was born (Shinrin in Japanese means “forest” and yoku means “bath”).
So Shinrin-yoku means “bathing” in the forest atmosphere or taking in the forest through our senses by opening them up to the natural world.
Research has found that even a small amount of time in nature can have an impact on our health. A two-hour forest bath will help us to unplug from technology and slow down. It will bring us into the present moment and de-stress and relax us.
When we connect to nature through all five of our senses, we begin to draw on the vast array of benefits the natural world provides.
Reduced stress: Forest bathing has been shown to reduce stress levels and promote relaxation. Spending time in nature helps to lower cortisol levels, a hormone associated with stress, and induces a state of calmness.
Improved mental health: Forest bathing has a positive impact on mental well-being. It can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. Being in nature promotes feelings of tranquillity, happiness, and overall psychological well-being.
Boosted immune system: Phytoncides, organic compounds emitted by trees and plants, are believed to have immune-boosting properties. Breathing in these compounds during forest bathing can enhance the activity of natural killer (NK) cells and increase the production of anti-cancer proteins.
Lower blood pressure and heart rate: Spending time in forests has been associated with reduced blood pressure and heart rate. The relaxing atmosphere, fresh air, and exposure to natural surroundings contribute to improved cardiovascular health.
Increased energy and vitality: Forest bathing can boost energy levels and combat fatigue. The experience of being in nature, away from the demands of daily life, recharges the mind and body, leaving you feeling refreshed and revitalised.
Improved sleep quality: Regular forest bathing can help regulate sleep patterns and improve the quality of sleep. Exposure to natural light and the sounds of nature during the day can help reset circadian rhythms, leading to better sleep at night.
Enhanced focus and creativity: Spending time in nature has been shown to improve focus, concentration, and cognitive function. Forest bathing allows the mind to enter a state of relaxed awareness, which can enhance creativity and problem-solving abilities.
Respiratory benefits: Forests are abundant in phytoncides, which have been found to have antimicrobial properties. Breathing in the forest air can help purify the respiratory system and reduce the risk of respiratory illnesses.
Help you to lose weight: By improving metabolic rate and hormonal balance.
Find a spot … Make sure you have left your phone and camera behind. You are going to be walking aimlessly and slowly. You don’t need any devices. Let your body be your guide. Listen to where it wants to take you. And take your time.