During these crazy times it is more important than ever to spend some much needed time outdoors taking in nature. We are all feeling cooped up and more than a little stressed and it’s the perfect time to get out into the forest and do a little bit of forest bathing. That’s what I am going to be doing this weekend!
If you have been lacking energy, unable to focus, or feeling stressed, I highly recommend that you give forest bathing a try.
What is Forest Bathing?
Forest bathing, also known as Shinrin-yoko, was developed in Japan as recently as the 1980’s and has become Japan’s primary preventative and healing medicine. After giving forest bathing a try, I can understand why!
The primary goal of forest bathing is to connect with nature through our senses. Isolating each sense, one at a time and putting all of your focus on each sense individually. We have to ditch the cellphone, and selfies are definitely out of the question. In fact, this is one adventure that I strongly urge that you do solo so that you are able to take in the full experience.
Have I piqued your interest yet? If so, keep on reading, as I am about to tell you how it works.
It is not necessary to be physically fit in order to reap the benefits of forest bathing, as the slower the pace, the more focused you will become.
Focus on truly seeing your surroundings. The colour of the water. The type of trees. The different textures of the vegetation. The various colours.
Close your eyes and listen to the sounds. Can you hear the trees rustling in the wind? Or the soft sounds of the water rippling, or washing up against land? Do you hear birds chirping. You may even hear the far away sound of an owl calling.
Pick up different types of leaves, a pine cone, sticks, or anything else you can find. Close your eyes and focus on the texture of the item you are holding. Is it rough? Smooth? Sharp? Prickly?
Now close your eyes and focus on the various different smells of the forest. I have always found that the strongest smell was that of the trees, especially the pine needles. I have also discovered that the sense of smell becomes much stronger once night falls, as this is the only sense that we have to guide us as we walk through the forest.
You may wonder how you use the sense of taste in a forest. When you are really focused on the sense of taste, you can actually taste the air, whether it be the light breeze or the taste of the pine needles which fill the air. Depending on the type of vegetation found in the particular forest you are in, you may even be able to use some of the leaves from the vegetation to make tea.
So….there you have it! This is what forest bathing is all about. I have found it to be such a de-stressor, that I have begun to do it at least once a month.
Give it a try! It literally will bring each of your senses to life like you have never experienced before. I am anxious to know your thoughts and how if worked for you.