Thursday, March 9, 2017

Forest Bathing

I recently read about a thing the Japanese do, called forest bathing, which seems to be very popular right now.  The idea is simple: if a person simply visits a natural area and walks in a relaxed way there are calming, rejuvenating and restorative benefits to be achieved. In these stressful times, it's a good idea to do like the Japanese do. Get outside today.  The other benefit to this is the addition of vitamin D, something we apparently don't get enough of during the dark winter months.

Now it seems like common sense that one would feel better after getting outside, but there's actual research showing physical changes like mental clarity, relaxed mood, lower blood pressure, increased energy.  All of those are very good things.  This isn't about hiking, i.e. getting from point A to point B. It's just about being in nature.  Think about how you can make time for this in your own life.

If you need help, check out the park maps and find one with natural areas.  Maybe try one of the Forked Aster trails. It won't be long and there will be spring flowers, more birds coming our way and green buds on trees again.  Be there to see it. Once you find your outdoor space, be present.  Turn off the mobile phone. Look around you.  Do some deep breathing.  Notice how your feet sound when they hit the ground. Listen for animal noises. Touch the bark on the trees. Listen to running water.  When I did this, I found myself feeling more relaxed by the time I was out of the woods.  Let me know your experience.

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