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Forest bathing: Spending time in nature

Forest bathing: Spending time in nature

In the past few years, our lifestyle has changed dramatically. As the pandemic raged, the situation forced us to stay at home leading to a massive change in how we spend our time. Apparently, our dependence on technological devices has increased. Although using technology keeps the boredom at bay we feel, however, when was the last time that you went out to spend some time in nature? 

Now the pandemic restriction is lifted,  we are free to go outside. But, we may be still trapped in an inescapable cycle of routines, while we forget how good being in nature can make us feel. At first, getting alienated by nature seems not a problem at all, it could be detrimental to our well-being in the long run. 

Indeed, connecting ourselves with nature is crucial. In today’s hectic and stressful lifestyle, a regular dose of nature is what we need. 

The Japanese ‘Forest Bathing’

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In Japan, forest bathing is based on a Japanese practice called Shinrin-yoku which literally translated to forest bath. This is the moment when Japanese people get outside to absorb the atmosphere of nature. It is also a form of physiological and psychological exercise.

Forest bathing encourages you to simply immerse in nature by mindfully using all five senses. Let nature enter through your system. Moreover, this practice is similar to mindfulness which is a good antidote to stress and nature deficit disorder in society. 

Practicing forest bathing doesn’t require you to do it in the forest. You can practice this in any natural setting or any place with trees. A quiet atmosphere, captivating scenery, and fresh air are a reminder that time spent in nature is actually good. 

The benefits of spending time in nature  

Nature plays an important role in our overall well-being. In fact, research findings revealed that connecting with nature can lead to mental and emotional well-being. Exposure to nature affects a person’s happiness, well-being, and positive affect, and decreases mental distress. 

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In addition, forest bathing strengthens immune function. It helps decrease blood pressure, cortisol levels and lower heart rate, and greater parasympathetic nerve activity. 

Science has proved that nature is inextricably connected to us. As the Nature Connectedness Research Group asserts:

“There’s no wellbeing without nature’s wellbeing. Too often we see nature as something to use, control, or as a threat to us. To fix this we need a new relationship with nature and doing so can also help tackle the crisis in our mental health and wellbeing.”

Take a moment to appreciate our natural world—the sounds of the birds, the scent of the trees, the breezing rustling in the leaves. Reconnect with nature and reap the benefits it has to offer.

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