The ins and outs of Forest Bathing
Forest Bathing has become quite popular in the UK. The concept/term Forest Bathing, or Shinrin Yoku as it is called in Japan, emerged in Japan during a physiological and psychological exercise in the 1980s. The trial's purpose was to help people suffering from burnout due to the rapid development of technology—it also wanted to reconnect them with nature. People say that their well-being is vastly improved when they spend with nature—what better way to bond with the world than by spending quality time in the wilderness?
Who is Forest Bathing for?
Forest bathing is something that anybody of any age can enjoy. Forest Bathing is a way to reconnect with nature; for many, the stresses of everyday life can be a little too much, so withdrawing from modern-day living for a few days is beneficial. People spend a lot of their time at work and engaging with the various technologies they are exposed to on a daily basis. Over the years, technology has taken over our lives, making it difficult for us to unplug from the system and enjoy life for what is.
Switching off your mobile phone and returning to nature has become very attractive to people, and we see no sign of this trend slowing down. According to the Forestry Commission, 99% of people live within an hour’s drive from the nearest forest, which is one of the reasons people find it so attractive—it also does not hurt that Forest Bathing is free.
4 Health Benefits of Forest Bathing
Forest Bathing is more than just going for a walk in the woods. Forest Bathing is a natural well-being therapy that uses the healing power of the forest to restore the mind, body, and soul. Various meditation techniques can be used while Forest Bathing which will open up your senses and connection to the natural world, a connection that has weakened over time.
Walking in the woods and returning to nature is more relaxing than going for a stroll in the city. Getting away from the noise, traffic, and huge crowds will give you the time/space you need to enjoy your own company.
Forest Bathing will give you time to think things through in a way that might not be possible in a city environment. If you are creative, a little alone time with nature may help you find solutions to problems you are having in your everyday life.
3. Boosts the Immune System
Getting a little fresh air, without the city’s pollution is said to work wonders for the immune system.
4. Improved Moods
Walking in the forest can do wonders for your mood if you are feeling down. Research has shown that exposure to nature can help to reduce symptoms of depression/anxiety.
6 Forest Bathing Tips for Beginners
1. Turn off your phone so you can relax without being disturbed by the outside world.
2. Take your time during your walk so you can enjoy being with nature properly.
3. Take long, deep breaths so that your body can relax in this natural environment.
4. Use your senses to enjoy being with nature, allowing you to become one with the forest.
5. Take a break and mindfully observe your surroundings, keeping your mind blank and enjoying nature for what it is.
6. Do not push yourself; stay as long as you need to—over time, you can increase the length of your sessions.
Forest Bathing Spots in the UK
There are plenty of places in the UK where you can enjoy Forest Bathing. The Association of Nature and Forest Therapy offers all sorts of Forest Bathing trips for you and your loved ones to enjoy. Making a weekend out of your first experience is an excellent idea if it is your first time. Alternatively, if you prefer to go alone, there are forest trails and maps available online that will show you the best routes. It is important to keep safety in mind when embarking on such a trip, if it can be helped, you should not go alone. There are many forests to explore in the UK, such as Sherwood Forest (Nottinghamshire) or The New Forest (Hampshire). Put down your workbook/laptop and reconnect with nature, your mind, body, and soul will thank you for it.
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