Forest bathing might sound like a new trend for those who do lots of yoga or go on silent meditation retreats. In reality the concept is quite simple and attainable for nearly anyone. Forest Bathing simply means spending time in nature.
The idea behind forest bathing is that our cave-dwelling ancestors lived outdoors and our brains are hardwired to crave connection with nature. Instead, we spend the majority of our time indoors, not to mention plugged into computers, phones and TV screens - which takes a toll on our physical and mental well-being. Our modern way of life has evolved dramatically, but our brains are largely the same as they were back when our predecessors hunted for their lunch.
increasingly, research reveals that making an effort to mindfully engage with nature can create a seismic shift in how you feel. In fact, doing so may help: Reduce stress, Decrease symptoms of depression, Increase your energy and focus, Make you feel more connected to others, Boost the quality of your workouts when you take them outside.
There are plenty of ways that you can spend more time in the great outdoors. Tor example, consider meeting up with friends or a loved one for a walk along a trail rather than going to a café or restaurant. Plan outdoor weekend activities or take a walk in the park. Give it a try, and there's a very good chance you'll find yourself seeking out opportunities to get outside more and more.
(this article was published in Simply Good Health, fall 2019, author unknown)