‘Shinrin-Yoku’: The Benefits of Being Surrounded by Nature in the Practice of Forest Bathing


‘Shinrin-Yoku’: The Benefits of Being Surrounded by Nature in the Practice of Forest Bathing


Forest Bathing, or Shinrin-yoku in Japanese, is a unique form of nature therapy that has become widely accepted as a way to bring physical and mental balance by connecting people with the natural environment around them.  Forest bathing has been practiced in Japan for thousands of years. It’s a type of guided meditation that involves spending time in the woods and interacting with nature. 


With many people wanting to find ways to reduce stress, anxiety and improve their overall wellbeing, forest bathing is quickly becoming an increasingly popular way to reconnect with nature and experience a sense of relaxation and peace. In this article, we explore the concept of forest bathing, what it means for our mental health and emotional wellbeing, and how you can incorporate the practice into your daily life.


The benefits of forest bathing include:


-improved mood and reduced stress levels

-increased energy levels and sense of well-being (this may be due to increased oxygen intake and increased melatonin levels)

-increased creativity and sense of freedom


How does forest bathing work? 


Studies suggest that it works by reducing stress hormones like cortisol and increasing serotonin production (which plays a role in regulating mood).  In fact, one study found that forest bathing can reduce cortisol levels by up to 27%. Cortisol is a hormone released by your body in response to stress, which can negatively impact your mood, memory, and other aspects of your physical health.  


In addition, the human body responds positively when exposed to vast open spaces, fresh air, and bright colors; these elements are all present in natural settings such as forests and parks.  From reducing anxiety and stress, to strengthening focus and clarity, forest bathing can help us reconnect with the natural world around us. 


Forest bathing isn’t just about enjoying time spent in nature—it’s about experiencing all of your senses while you’re there with an intention to notice things more deeply than usual. You might notice the smell of pine needles or mossy earth; maybe the sound of birds chirping or wind rustling through leaves; and definitely you’ll feel more grounded as you’re reminded that you’re part of something much bigger than yourself.  Just 30 minutes of forest bathing every day can help relieve stress and tension from your body.


If you’re looking for ways to integrate forest bathing into your daily life, but live closer to a city or urban area, there are a few options available to you.  If you live in a city, you can still enjoy the benefits of forest bathing by taking a nature walk. Go on a walk in a park, go for a hike in a nearby forest, or take a walk around your neighborhood.  If you don’t have access to nature, you can still enjoy the calming effects of forest bathing by listening to music that has a forest or nature theme. Try listening to jungle or forest sounds, or music with acoustic instruments like the guitar or ukulele.

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